The number of Texas drivers 65 or older will increase almost 200 percent in the next few decades, meaning Texas Department of Transportation needs to be ready.

Ready for what? That’s the $64,000 question. Certainly it is no secret that as we age our physical abilities may decline. But physicians and driving safety experts say that doesn’t mean older drivers are unsafe drivers. And they are also not in agreement on what steps can be taken to make driving easier for them.

There has been a great deal of discussion already about who is responsible for making the decisions about when a driver might be “too old” to safely operate a motor vehicle. Some say physicians should make that call as they know their patients best and can make an educated decisions about whether or not that person safely operate a motor vehicle. Others think the decisions is best left to family members who can and should make that ultimate decision.

Adding to this discussion is a recent report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety which indicates that fatal crashes per mile driven “increase noticeably starting at age 70-74.”

The state of Texas already has a different set of requirements for older drivers than for younger drivers: after age 85 senior drivers have to get their licenses renewed every two years instead of every six, and everyone who is 79 or older has to do it in person instead of by mail or online. This can help the state make a more informed decision about the abilities of each specific driver.

It is possible the continued surge in senior drivers might make state legislators take another look at driving requirements for seniors. It also means they will need to look at roads, bridges and other pieces of the transportation infrastructure to see what other accommodations can be made.