Of course parents will answer that question differently than their children. Most youth are eager to drive at the earliest possible age because driving means fun and freedom. As parents, we're more concerned about keeping them safe.
We know the human brain doesn't fully mature until 25 and studies show 16 and 17 year-olds are much more likely to crash than 18 year-olds. So, at first glance, it seems better to wait until teens are older to begin driving.
However, when you look a little deeper, you realize that part of the reason younger teens are more likely to crash is because they have the least experience. If you move the novice age to 18, the 18-year olds are still inexperienced. The other huge factor is parental influence.
At 16, youth still live at home. This gives their parents a big opportunity to influence their driving by coaching, monitoring and supporting them. By 18, however, teens are getting ready to go off to college or move out of the house which means their parents have much less influence on them and how they drive.
That strong family support and foundation of good skills and responsible behaviors is important. That's why 16 is really the best age for teens to learn to drive.