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Maryland Drops Parallel Parking From Driver's License Test

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's a point of pride, or it's a grueling anxiety-inducing exercise.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Parallel parking - if you're a driver, you know exactly how skilled you are or are not when it comes to snuggling up to a curb.

SIEGEL: You know. whenever I seamlessly parallel park, Audie, I just feel terrifically proud of myself.

CORNISH: You're not the only one enjoying the bragging rights, Robert - not that it matters much anymore.

BUEL YOUNG: As of May 19, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration has eliminated the parallel parking maneuver.

CORNISH: Maryland is now the latest state to drop parallel parking from its driver's license exam. It joins a list of more than a dozen other states.

SIEGEL: Buel Young of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, whom you heard there, says completing a two-point turn and backing up is close enough. But since Maryland is so close to the nation's capital, this is getting some attention.

CORNISH: And our informal inquiry on a street a few blocks from our office clearly shows the world is divided into two camps.

SIEGEL: Those who savor the chance to practice their parallel parking skills and those who would rather have hot lead poured into their ears.

CHRISTINA FOSNA: OK, parallel parking is hard. It took me quite a few tries to learn it, but you have to know it if you're going to live in the city. I'd like to duly note that.

SWANNELL WIGGINS: What's the secret to parallel parking? Know exactly how to park. Know exactly what you're doing.

MAREETA CARTER: I never parallel park. I try not to. It's a nightmare.

TYRONE SMITH: It's very easy. Just take your time, and be patient.

RENEE SUTTON: You go forward, you reel backwards about - till you come back to the bumper of the car behind you. Go back front until you're all the way in, and go back. Turn again a little bit, and go forward a bit so you're even.

SIEGEL: We heard from Christina Fosna, Mareeta Carter, Swannell Wiggins, Tyrone Smith and Renee Sutton on the ancient, esoteric art of parallel parking.

CORNISH: And Curtis Johnson said he knows the real secret to getting your car into that sweet spot.

CURTIS JOHNSON: A backup camera. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.