Forget the years of debate or the millions of jokes and insults that have been tossed back and forth. Women are safer drivers than men are, according to a new study.

Forget the years of debate or the millions of jokes and insults that have been tossed back and forth. Women are safer drivers than men are, according to a new study.

It's true, said Rob Klapper, CEO of Insurance.com, whose company took a look at more than 7 million drivers to see which gender reported driving violations when requesting comparison quotes. "Turns out men report more, almost across the board, regardless of age or education level," Klapper said.

Before handing over the keys to women, men can take some solace in knowing that overall percentage differences were very close, suggesting that there is more equality among drivers than partisans might expect.

Overall totals indicate that 31 percent of female drivers reported one or more violations, compared with 33 percent of males.

And the study indicates that some stereotypes are backed up by reality. For example, the hot-rodding young man is more than a tired fiction. The study says the worst group of drivers, with 41 percent reporting one or more violations, is males ages 16 to 24. The most-ticketed group of women also is the youngest, with 37 percent of female drivers between 16 and 24 reporting at least one violation.

Even so, one male driver found it hard to believe that women are safer drivers than men. "Perhaps in the case of speeding, I would agree," said Paul Anthony of Upper Arlington. "However, in terms of accidents and failure-to-stop offenses, I would need to see the evidence. I just don't believe it. That is," he added, "unless all of the teenage boys in their Honda Si's, Mitsubishis and Dodge Intrepids - with their extra loud, polluting mufflers and laughable makeshift spoilers, who drive like idiots for a couple months after the latest 2 Fast 2 Furious movie comes out - are throwing off the curve."

Statistics from State Automobile Mutual Insurance Co. confirm the conclusion that young drivers are the worst, said Kyle Anderson, media-relations director. "Our actuaries tell us that what they see is, it's true, that female drivers are safer, but it varies by age group," Anderson said. "In the under-25 group, that gap is narrowing very significantly between men and women."

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirm that young drivers historically have been most at risk. While drivers ages 15 to 20 represented just 6 percent of licensed drivers in 2007, for example, 19 percent of the fatalities from car crashes that year involved young drivers.

The Insurance.com study also reinforces the notion that with age comes wisdom. Women drivers age 65 or older are the safest drivers, with only 13 percent reporting at least one violation. Among men, the safest drivers also are those age 65 or older, with 16 percent.