WASHINGTON (WUSA9)-- Despite some wide spread notions, elderly drivers are some of the safest motorist on the road.
AAA Spokesman John Townsend said, "Most people think that older drivers are unsafe drivers. That's a stereotype...a vicious one."
He said it is true that elderly drivers have a higher rate of fatalities during a wreck. However, Townsend attributes that to their personal health and wellness rather than their driving abilities.
He added, "because of their age, and their fragility, and their recuperative power they die in car crashes."
According to Townsend there is truth in the belief that older people's senses can be less keen than younger drivers. He said that is especially true for eye sight.
The problem that we are running into is visual acuity of older drivers," he said.
AAA experts say by 2020 this country will have more than 37 million elderly people and 90 percent of them will have licenses.
He says it's important families speak with their elderly loved ones about handing over the keys when the time is right.
"They resent it so you have to coach it in such a way that it's all about their safety and the safety of other drivers on the highway," he said.