DOT Exam

Written by Nick Webster

Published on June 2, 2023, 11 a.m.

DOT Exam

The term “DOT exam” refers to a DOT physical exam, which is also known as a DOT medical exam. Here is what the examination is:

  • A DOT medical exam is a physical examination that commercial truck and bus drivers must pass to keep their license.
  • The exam includes vision, hearing, blood pressure, and urine tests.
  • It also includes questions about the driver’s health history so the doctor can decide if they are fit to drive safely.
  • All drivers must take the exam every two years or whenever renewing their commercial driver’s license (CDL).
  • Failure to complete the DOT medical exam may result in suspension of your CDL privileges.


The Department of Transportation (DOT) physical is a critical exam required for all individuals who operate commercial vehicles. “DOT” refers to the US Department of Transportation.The FMCSA mandates this assessment to ensure the safety of the public and verify that drivers are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit for their duties. Without passing this exam, no one may legally operate a commercial vehicle on public roads. It's an essential step in maintaining safe driving conditions for everyone sharing the road.

What Are the Basics About DOT Physicals?

As a commercial driver, you play an important role in keeping our roads and the public safe. Because of this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that all CDL holders complete and pass a DOT Physical to maintain their license. DOT Authority Package, Tips to prepare for 2023 DOT WeekThe physical is designed to ensure that drivers are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Who Conducts DOT Physical Exams?

DOT physical exams are conducted by licensed medical providers, typically physicians, nurse practitioners or physician assistants. These providers must have training in the specific areas listed in the FMCSA regulations for medical examinations. Providers must also be knowledgeable about federal and state regulations related to commercial motor vehicle drivers. Visit and know about The DOT Physical Drug Test.

The provider performing the exam must complete an evaluation form provided by the FMCSA and certify that a driver meets all of the standards outlined in Part 391 of Title 49 CFR. It is important to note that DOT physicals differ from regular physicals at your doctor's office; they are required to meet certain criteria specified by the FMCSA.

What Should I Expect Throughout My DOT Exam?

A Certified Medical Examiner performing a DOT physical will check your vital signs to assess your general health. This includes measuring your blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. The CME will also review your medical history with you to identify any conditions or medications that could affect driving performance or safety.

In addition, the CME will perform a hands-on physical examination that checks different parts of the body for abnormalities. These include:

  • checking eyesight and hearing ability
  • examining the mouth and throat
  • listening to the heart and lungs
  • assessing extremities such as arms, hands, legs, and feet
  • evaluating the nervous system for coordination problems
  • looking for hernias in the abdomen area

If you have insulin treated diabetes mellitus or monocular vision and need to be certified for a CDL, the CME will issue you an updated medical certificate. Texas DOT Numbers and USDOT Numbers.This is also known as a DOT medical card and is required in order to keep your CDL valid. The new standards must be met at least 45 days before the DOT exam is performed, so it's important to start preparing as soon as possible.

To get started, contact your local CME and fill out the appropriate forms. They'll provide you with all of the information you need to complete the process successfully. With their help, you can easily stay compliant with the latest DOT regulations and ensure your track record remains clean.

How Do I Know If I Need the DOT Physical?

If you're an interstate driver, involved in passenger transportation, or carry hazardous materials that need to be placarded, then you'll need to take and pass a DOT physical. This will ensure you meet the safety requirements necessary for your job. The DOT physical is designed to make sure you stay healthy enough to safely operate the vehicle, so it's important to complete this regularly. Get ready - with your knowledge of the rules and regulations, you can easily ace the exam!

What Does the FMCSA State About DOT Medical Exams?

A DOT physical exam is valid for a maximum of two years. The medical examiner may also choose to issue a certificate that is valid for less time if they deem it necessary to keep track of any ongoing conditions, such as high blood pressure. Learn here How to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit.

To be fully compliant with FMCSA regulations, the physical must be completed by a professional listed on the National Registry, such as MDs, DOs, PAs, APNs or DCs. Proper licensing and certification are required in order for these medical professionals to perform DOT physical exams. All certificates issued must contain all of the information required by FMCSA regulations. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in fines and other legal repercussions.

Does the FMCSA Perform Recordkeeping in Relation to DOT Physical Exams?

Yes. If the medical examiner has determined that an individual is fit to drive a commercial motor vehicle, they will provide one copy of their results to the person who was examined and fill out a Medical Examiner's Certificate.This certificate serves as proof of the individual's physical capability to operate a CMV. Do you want to know How Much Does a DOT Physical Cost?In order for this certificate to remain valid, it must be renewed every two years or whenever the medical examiner deems necessary.

What Conditions Could Disqualify Me & Stop Me from Getting a DOT Card?

In order to be cleared for a Department of Transportation physical, you need to make sure that any medical condition will not interfere with your ability to safely drive. This means that if something affects your hearing or vision, it could put you and other drivers at risk. Additionally, any condition which might lead to loss of consciousness or dizziness can disqualify you from passing the DOT physical. To ensure your safety while on the road, be mindful of any health issue that may impact your driving skills.

Such conditions can include uncontrolled heart issues, epilepsy, Meniere's disease, uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, uncorrected vision and hearing problems, marijuana use (even if prescribed), illegal substance use, oxygen therapy for certain respiratory conditions, and protein in the urine which may indicate kidney disease.

It is important to discuss your specific medical condition with your doctor before you pursue or renew a driver's license. Also, take a look at the Drug and Alcohol Program policy. Your doctor can provide an evaluation of your health status and any potential risks associated with operating a motor vehicle. This assessment will help ensure that driving remains safe for everyone on the road.

The FMCSA may grant exemptions or waivers for certain conditions. However, in some cases, you may need to address a disqualifying condition before you can be medically certified. What is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement? If your condition is manageable and you are able to it under control, then you submit an application for certification again. It will ultimately be up to the medical examiner to decide whether or not you meet the requirements for certification.

Summary: What Are DOT Exams?

  • DOT medical exams are required for individuals who operate a CMV in accordance with FMCSA) regulations.
  • The purpose of these exams is to ensure that drivers are medically fit to safely operate a CMV without putting themselves or others at risk.
  • These exams must be administered by certified medical examiners listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners and include both physical and mental health evaluations.
  • Drivers must pass all aspects of the exam, which includes vision tests, hearing tests and urine analysis, before being allowed to drive a CMV.

If an individual fails any portion of the exam, they will not be able to receive the authority to operate commercial vehicles.