Despite stereotypes, drivers 75 and older are less likely to get into crashes than other age groups.
By 2018, the last time the United States Department of Transportation released national data, there were nearly 45 million licensed drivers aged 65 and older, whom we refer to as “senior” drivers. That’s a 40 percent increase from just 10 years earlier in 2008.
You might be surprised to learn that despite harmful stereotypes about senior drivers being dangerous on the road, older adults actually have lower crash rates than other age groups, such as teen drivers. Still, if you’re a senior driver or have one in your family, there are considerations to keep in mind about your driving ability.
There are certain medical conditions that could affect the driving of people ages 65 and older.
Because older adults are more susceptible to the above conditions, laws differ on when they can renew their driver’s licenses. Some states require proof of adequate vision as part of the renewal process.2
|State||License renewal cycle||Proof of adequate vision required at renewal?||Mail or online renewal permitted?|
|Alabama||Four years for all ages||No||Online, every other renewal|
|Alaska||Five years for all ages||69 and older, every renewal||Not permitted 69 and older|
|Arizona||Five years for people 65 and older||Every renewal||No|
|Arkansas||Four or eight years for people 70 and older (personal choice)||Every other renewal||No|
|California||Five years for all ages||70 and older, every renewal||Not permitted 70 and older|
|Colorado||Five years for all ages||Every renewal||Both, if photograph is newer than 16 years|
|Connecticut||Two years permitted for people 65 and older (personal choice)||No||Both, every other renewal|
|Delaware||Eight years for all ages||Every renewal||No|
|District of Columbia||Eight years for all ages||Every renewal||Not permitted 70 and older|
|Florida||Six years for people 80 and older||80 and older, every renewal||Both, every other renewal|
|Georgia||Eight years for all ages||Every renewal||Both, every other renewal|
|Hawaii||As of Jan. 1, 2023:
Four years for people 72-79
Two years for people 72-79 with conditions that could affect their driving abilities
Two years for people 80 and older
|Every renewal||Residents 72 and older can use the mail if their license is REAL ID-compliant and they are in the state|
|Idaho||Four years for people 63 and older||Every renewal||Not permitted 70 and older|
|Illinois||Two years for people 81-86; One year for people 87 and older||75 and older, every renewal||Not permitted 75 and older|
|Indiana||Three years for people 75-84; Two years for people 85 and older||75 and older, every renewal||Both, every other renewal|
|Iowa||Two years for people 78 and older||70 and older, every renewal||Not permitted 70 and older|
|Kansas||Four years for people 65 and older||Every renewal||Not permitted 65 and older|
|Kentucky||Four or eight years, personal option||Every renewal||Both, if photograph is newer than 16 years|
|Louisiana||Six years||70 and older, every renewal||Not permitted 70 and older|
|Maine||Four years for people 65 and older||62 and older, every renewal||Not permitted 62 and older|
|Maryland||Eight years for all ages||40 and older, every renewal||Both, if photograph is newer than 16 years|
|Massachusetts||Five years for all ages||75 and older, every renewal||Not permitted 75 and older|
|Michigan||Four years for all ages||When renewing in person||Both, every other renewal|
|Minnesota||Four years for all ages||Every renewal||No|
|Mississippi||Four or eight years (personal choice)||No||Online, every other renewal|
|Missouri||Three years for people 70 and older||Every renewal||No|
|Montana||Four years for people 75 and older||Every renewal||Both, every other renewal|
|Nebraska||Five years||72 and older, every renewal||Not permitted 72 and older|
|Nevada||Four years for people 65 and older||71 and older, every renewal||Both, every other renewal for people 65 and older|
|New Hampshire||Five years for all ages||Every renewal||Online, every other renewal|
|New Jersey||Two or four years for people 70 and older (personal choice)||Every 10 years||Both|
|New Mexico||Four years for people 71-78; one year for people 79 and older||75 and older, every renewal||Not permitted 75 and older|
|New York||Eight years for all ages||Every renewal||Both|
|North Carolina||Five years for people 66 and older||Every renewal||Online, every other renewal|
|North Dakota||Four years for people 78 and older||Every renewal||Not permitted 70 and older|
|Ohio||Four years for people 65 and older||65 and older, every renewal||Not permitted 65 and older|
|Oklahoma||Four or eight years (personal choice)||No||Both, every other renewal|
|Oregon||Eight years for all ages||50 and older if renewing in person||Online, every other renewal|
|Pennsylvania||Two years or four years for people 65 and older (personal choice)||No||Both|
|Rhode Island||Two years for people 75 and older||Every renewal||Online, every other renewal|
|South Carolina||Eight years for all ages||Every renewal||Both|
|South Dakota||Five years for all ages||65 and older, every renewal||Both, every other renewal|
|Tennessee||Eight years for all ages||No||Both|
|Texas||Two years for people 85 and older||79 and older, every renewal||Not permitted 79 and older|
|Utah||Eight years for all ages||65 and older, every renewal||Online, every other renewal|
|Vermont||Two or four years for all ages||No||By mail, unless new photo required|
|Virginia||Five years for people 75 and older||75 and older, every renewal||Not permitted 75 and older|
|Washington||Six or eight years (personal choice)||Every renewal||Not permitted 70 and older|
|West Virginia||Eight years for all ages||Every renewal||Online, every other renewal|
|Wisconsin||Eight years for all ages||Every renewal||No|
|Wyoming||Five years for all ages||Every renewal||By mail, every other renewal|
Auto insurance for seniors, meaning adults aged 65 and older, costs an average of $1,828 per year. After you turn 65, the price goes up every year.
|Age||Average annual cost of car insurance|
We looked at the most recent data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), as well as other federal agencies, to give you an overview on senior drivers in the U.S.
As of 2018, there were nearly 45 million licensed drivers ages 65 and older in the U.S., a 40 percent increase over the past decade, or a yearly average increase of 3 percent.4
The state with the highest number of licensed drivers ages 65 and older was California, with 10 percent of all senior drivers in the U.S. Florida followed close behind with 8 percent.
|State||Number of licensed drivers 65 and older, 2018|
|District of Columbia||75,801|
Keep each state’s general population in mind, as that greatly affects the number of senior drivers on the roads. The more drivers there are on the roads in general, the more likely there are to be high numbers of senior drivers.
Statistics show male drivers 65 and older are more likely to get into crashes, and likely to get into more severe crashes compared to their female counterparts, but this gender divide is also true regardless of age. That’s a reason why men pay more for car insurance across all age groups, not just seniors.
Another risk factor is age. Believe it or not, drivers 75 and older actually have lower crash rates than those ages 65 to 74, according to NHTSA data from 2021, the most recent year available.
|Crash type involving drivers 65 and older, 2021||Crashes per licensed driver, ages 65-74||Crashes per licensed driver, ages 75 and older||Difference|
|Property damage only||0.03427||0.02158||59%|
In 2021, drivers who are 65 and older got into more than 1 million car accidents, 70 percent of which involved property damage only. Only 1 percent of senior car crashes were fatal, with nearly 7,500 traffic fatalities that year.
Unfortunately for seniors who like driving motorcycles, fatality rates increase sevenfold and injury rates more than double with motorcycles compared to rates across all motor vehicles. Motorcycle crashes are more dangerous across all age groups, however, so this problem isn’t specific to older drivers.
A fatal crash is much more likely when riding a motorcycle than a car, which offers drivers more protection.
Ten percent of all senior driving accidents in 2021 involved distracted driving, which means texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, and other activities that take your focus from the road. Find out if you’re considered a distracted driver with our quiz.
According to 2019 and 2020 NHTSA data, drivers ages 70 and older have the highest use of seat belts, also known as restraints. During these two years, 92 percent of those 70 and older used seat belts, compared to 90 percent across the general population.
Driving impaired means you’re behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher. In 2021, 17 percent of all senior drivers involved in fatal accidents were driving under the influence (DUI).
|Driver BAC||Number of fatal accidents involving a driver ages 65 and older, 2021||Percentage of total|
|0.08% or higher (impaired)||1,285||17%|
|Lower than 0.08% (not impaired)||6,204||83%|
Below is a little information on how to stay safe as a senior driver, but if you want to learn more, read our full driving guide for older adults.
While medical issues may make driving dangerous or impossible for some senior drivers, most drivers ages 65 and older on U.S. roads are perfectly capable of driving safely. However, if you need to tell an older adult to stop driving for their own safety, do so with understanding and support.
We used data from the following national organizations to compile this report:
According to data from the U.S. Census and the Federal Highway Administration, drivers ages 85 and older are the most likely to stop driving. By age 85, 66 percent of the population are no longer licensed drivers.
|Age||Percent of population that is unlicensed, 2021|
|40-44||Less than 1%|
|85 and over||66%|
Licensing rates begin to decline for middle-aged drivers at age 55 and reach a low at age 85 and older.
Common mistakes of older drivers age 65 and up include the following:
One major factor in older drivers’ motor vehicle crashes is alcohol. In 2021, the last time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published data, 17 percent of all traffic fatalities of drivers age 65 and older involved BACs of 0.08 percent or higher, meaning they were impaired.
A 65-year-old is actually less prone to a motor vehicle accident (MVA) compared to other age groups. In 2021, only 2 percent of the population of U.S. adults ages 65 and older were involved in crashes, compared to 5 percent of those ages 25 to 24, 4 percent of those ages 35 to 44, and 3 percent of those ages 45 to 64.
|Age group||Percentage of population involved in car accidents, 2021|
|24 and younger||2%|
|65 and older||2%|
We analyzed information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Census to calculate the above numbers.
Medical Conditions and Driving: A Review of the Literature (1960 – 2000). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2005).
Mature Drivers. Governors Highway Safety Administration. (2023).
License renewal procedures. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute. (2023).
Licensed Drivers, by state, gender, and age group. Data.gov. (2021, Nov 24).
Safe Driving for Older Adults. National Institute on Aging. (2023).
MyMobility Plan. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023).