I"m in favor of raising the age for full driving privleges to 18. Its not a matter of 18 year olds being better at keeping the car between the lines, its that most 16-17 year olds lack the maturity to make intelligent decisions about when they should be driving,taking risks, etc. I could go for letting 17 year olds drive between 6 AM and 11 PM, or something like that, so they can get to and from school, work, football practice, etc. .
I don't buy the whining from surburban parents that their kids need cars to get to work, most of them are working to pay for car insurance and gas.
I'm in complete agreement with you both. I didn't get my license until I was 19, my brother didn't get his until he was 18. We didn't need it. And I think a longer time for practice (keeping the learner's permit age the same--it's 15 years and some months in MD) would be extremely beneficial. It takes a while just to get used to the car. and time is still needed to learn about how to deal with all the other drivers out there. Not to mention how to handle a car-load full of other people, or other distractions. .
Plus, if the age was raised, maybe more people would use public transportation. (yay!).
Of course, when I was 16 it was the mid '80s. Because of the new fuel emissions systems, most cars were set for economic driving and were pitifully slow (but great on gas). Cars these days average over 100 horsepower. In the mid 80s it was something like 60-70, with small cars (very popular) even as low as 40 hp (my first car topped out at about 75mph and took a good while to get there, on the other hand it had excellent nimble handling--the perfect combination for a kid). Today, cars are huge (SUV's) and damn fast, even with improved economy. My point is, cars have changed and while they are safer in a collision, they are more likely to be crashed by inexperienced drivers. Most inexperienced drivers happen to be youngsters.