As a teenager, I believe that the new District law raising the age for an unrestricted driver's license to 18 is a good thing. I understand that driving is something that almost all teenagers crave; it is a sign of maturity and responsibility, which is exactly why a 16-year-old should not be driving alone. Teens cannot vote until they are 18. That's a greater right, so why should the right to drive be granted at a younger age?

Currently, getting a learner's permit in the District isn't too hard. Teens with a learner's permit need only schedule and pass a road test to get a full license. There is no waiting period before a person can try to get a full license, no number of hours required practicing behind the wheel and no driver's education class required.

The new law, if approved by the D.C. financial control board, will go into effect Sept. 1. The new law doesn't stop teens from driving; it merely sets some limits. These restrictions may seem like a hassle to teenagers, and they are. Not all teenagers are bad drivers, but the percentage of accidents caused by teenagers is high enough to warrant a change in the law.

Raising the driving age will not eliminate bad drivers or end teen deaths, but it will help.

JASON KUTCHER

Washington