Maryland State Highway Administration Announces New Parking Signage Standard for Publicly-Owned Charging Stations

From Our Partner Agencies

by Sophia Cortazzo, Air Quality and Alternative Fuel Transportation Specialist, and Kristen E. Humphrey, MLA, Local Assistance and Training Planner

Figure 1 – Images showing design specifications for SHA’s new EV charging station signage to be implemented at publicly owned sites. Courtesy of SHA’s Office of Traffic and Safety.

As of January 2023, 64,000 electric vehicles (EVs) had been registered in the State of Maryland; including fully battery-operated electric vehicles and hybrid plug-in/gasoline-powered electric vehicles. As EV ownership has increased, so have publicly available charging stations.

However, there have been reports across the country, including Maryland, about EV drivers being denied access to charging stations because internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles have parked in charging spaces, or EVs have remained parked when no longer charging.

To address this issue, in the 2022 legislative session the Maryland General Assembly passed SB 0146, aimed at reserving parking spaces for charging EVs. This legislation was codified as Maryland Code Sec 21-1003.2 and went into effect October 1, 2022.

It states that unless a vehicle is plugged into charging equipment, a person may not stop, stand, or park a vehicle in a designated EV charging space. Violators are subject to a $100 civil penalty.

EV charging spaces must, however, be signed to indicate that the parking space is only for EV charging, any day or time of day restrictions, and the maximum fine for violations.

In response to this new requirement, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) coordinated with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the MDOT Office of Attorney General to issue the standard regulatory signs to be used at publicly accessible plug-in EV charging spaces.

Sign design, messaging, size, color, materials, and construction are governed to ensure standardization, making it clear that parking in such spaces is prohibited unless plugged in.

For additional information, please contact SHA’s Office of Traffic and Safety at 1-888-963-0307.

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