There’s no way around it. Americans love their cars and love to drive. In fact, more than 75 percent of adults have a driver’s license. This includes 40 million who are 65 and older, and senior drivers are reluctant to stop driving.

Decades of statistics show crash rates are highest for ages 16 to 19, not 65 and over.

So, is there a misconception out there about senior drivers being a danger driving a vehicle?

Current research proves the assumption that older people are not a danger behind the wheel. Even at 85, senior drivers crash less often, per mile, than teens.

Older adults simply don’t get enough credit for their safe driving habits. They are more likely to use seat belts and follow speed limits. They are less likely to drive at night or while intoxicated. And they are certainly less likely to text while they drive. Many seniors limit their driving at night, on highways, or during rush hour.

Public suspicion of older drivers is not fact based, but rather based on a nonclinical factor called ‘ageism’. In a publication by the American Geriatrics Society and published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called, “The Clinician’s Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers”,the evidence-based book tells the story.

While some 32 states impose special registration burdens based on age, the effectiveness appears to be limited. Two policies that have reduced fatality rates considerably for senior drivers are: in-person renewals and additional vision tests. These policies identify drivers with functional deficits and refer them to further screening which might deny license renewal. For seniors who think they may not pass the screening, the option is to simply not renew and discontinue driving.

For seniors who choose to continue to drive, finding the best auto insurance rates is important. Ask your independent insurance agent about the best choice. There are many insurance companies which offer discounts to mature drivers, as well as those who use drive tracking apps, take defensive driving courses, and have up-to-date safety features on their vehicles. For people who have recently retired and no longer commute to and from work every day, there may also may also be a discount for driving less.