If the current Maryland anti-ICEing bill becomes law, will most charging spots actually be enforceable? Probably not, unless charging station owners take the initiative to post the special signs and apply and maintain green painted markings on the pavement to designate each EV charging space.
House Bill 839 has passed a vote in the Maryland House of Delegates today, although it doesn’t have all the amendments that we asked for. Disappointingly, the bill still requires “green pavement markings” in addition to a sign in order to be enforceable. The inclusion of the pavement markings provision is reportedly at the request of law enforcement who say that they will not enforce parking restrictions at handicapped parking spots if the spot is not marked on the pavement and will apply that same policy to EV charging spaces.
Oddly, there is no requirement for handicapped parking spots to have pavement markings under Federal or Maryland State Code. The law enforcement sources that were consulted by the legislature reported said that some courts routinely throw out cases involving handicapped parking if the pavement is not marked and that is the basis for their position.
Unfortunately, there are no uniform standards for marking the pavement at EV charging spaces. Some charging station operators use white stenciled lettering to mark the pavement. Some paint the whole space green, others only make the lines separating the spaces green. Some even use blue instead of green or white paint.
We were, however, successful in getting two amendments that we asked for. One was to remove language requiring that vehicles be connected for charging purposes. That was struck from the bill. The other amendment that we suggested was to remove the requirement for lengthy language to be stated on the sign detailing that violators would be subject to a fine and towing or removal at the owner’s expense. We suggested that the sign simply meet the applicable standards for parking control signs. That was adopted and the requirement is now simply to state the maximum fine on the sign, i.e. “$100 MAX FINE”.
Effective signage is possibly more important than laws in keeping people with gas cars from parking in EV charging station spots. It has been a challenge to convince charging station owners to post signs that are effective. There is also the issue of unintended consequences. A number of charging stations in Howard County Maryland had their signs removed recently as a result of the County Council passing an anti-ICEing law. The station’s owner, the Columbia Association, “didn’t want people to get tickets.”
The bill heads to the Senate now. Stay tuned for developments.