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DOT Physical Exam

Written by Nick Webster

Published on May 12, 2023, 11:35 a.m.


DOT Physical Exam - What You Need To Know

Here are the basics of what a DOT physical exam is:

  • DOT physical exams are required for individuals who operate commercial motor vehicles (CMV) as per the Department of Transportation (DOT).
  • This exam ensures that employees driving CMVs are physically qualified for their jobs and have no medical conditions that could interfere with their ability to drive safely.
  • A federally-approved doctor conducts the exam and involves a comprehensive review of the driver's medical history, vitals, vision, and other tests. Visit How Long Is a DOT Physical Good For?
  • A successful applicant receives a Medical Examiner's Certificate or "medical card," which is valid for up to 2 years.
  • Drivers must renew this certification every two years to continue operating CMVs. Must visit What Does the DOT Physical Consist Of?

Introduction to DOT Physical Exams

If any of your employees must have a 'safety-sensitive' job designation according to the Department of Transportation (DOT), they must adhere to certain health standards. This includes having a regular physical that follows the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidelines. These guidelines ensure that commercial drivers and other safety-sensitive workers remain in good health to perform their jobs safely. Visit Medical Variance of DOT Physicals.

Your employees should come prepared for their DOT physicals with a few essential items. This includes a valid ID, any glasses or contact lenses they might use, and their medical history form filled out completely. Once they arrive at the exam, they can expect to undergo various tests and screenings that assess their physical capabilities, vision, hearing, and overall health. Considering these assessments, the certified examiner will determine whether the employee meets all the requirements to drive safely on public roads. Visit Vision Requirements for DOT Physical Exams.

How Does the DOT Physical Exam Work?

A Department of Transportation physical must be completed by a qualified medical professional approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Qualified professionals include doctors of medicine (MD), osteopathy (DO), physician assistants (PA), advanced practice nurses (APN), and chiropractors (DC). The certificate is valid for 24 months. If desired, the medical examiner can also issue a shorter-term certificate to monitor certain conditions, such as high blood pressure. Read here about Starting a Trucking Company Correctly.

What Do I Need to Bring to My DOT Physical?

Before coming to the clinic, commercial drivers need to save time by filling out a health history questionnaire. Additionally, they should bring their medications list, which should include the dosage regimen, dosages, and the names and addresses of their physicians. Completing these two steps before visiting the clinic will help make the process go more smoothly. What is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement?

Drivers with vision or hearing impairments must bring the necessary corrective devices, such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, or hearing aids. Diabetes patients should have their most recent Hemoglobin A1C (HgAIC) lab results and blood sugar logs ready. How To Request the DOT PIN Number?

Individuals with cardiac issues must present a letter from their cardiologist detailing their medical history and medications for examination to ensure safe driving practices. All of these are essential for providing a secure experience during your exam. Thus, it is important that you bring all applicable documents and items before your appointment. What is Unified Carrier Registration?

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What Areas Will My DOT Physical Cover?

Drivers are required to have a minimum visual acuity of 20/40 in each eye, with or without corrective lenses. To ensure maximum awareness of the environment, drivers must also have at least 70” of peripheral vision in the horizontal meridian, measured in each eye. In addition to having good eyesight and peripheral vision, drivers must be able to hear a forced whisper” from five feet away or less, even if they are using a hearing aid device. This standard corresponds to an average hearing loss of 40 decibels (dB) in the better ear—importance of The FMCSA 30-Minute Break Rule.

A DOT medical exam is designed to assess the driver's overall health. The examiner will take a look at the driver's blood pressure and pulse to check for high blood pressure or abnormal beats. Additionally, a urinalysis is conducted to detect any signs of underlying medical issues, such as diabetes. Drivers must remain in good health to operate a vehicle on public roads safely. With this test, you can rest assured that your safety – and the safety of others – is prioritized. Must visit FMCSA Hours of Service Suspended topics. Also, take a look at the Drug and Alcohol Program policy.

The DOT physical exam covers a wide range of categories to ensure that your overall health is evaluated. Practitioners will observe and document any abnormalities or concerns during the general appearance portion. They will also look for signs of cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, scarring of the tympanic membrane, and perforated ear drums. Practitioners will assess mouth and throat functions to check for difficulty in breathing or swallowing. How do you get an Oregon Trip And Fuel Permit? In addition, they may examine cardiac functions such as heartbeat murmurs, extra sounds, or the presence of a pacemaker if applicable. The lungs and chest area, excluding breast examinations, are analyzed, looking for abnormal breathing patterns, impaired respiratory functioning, or cyanosis (blue skin color). Learn here How to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit.

A Medical Examiner certified by the FMCSA is the only one who can carry out a DOT physical. The Medical Examiner is responsible for assessing if the applicant meets all necessary standards and accurately recording their findings on the document. Visit the DOT Authority Package, which contains tips to prepare for 2022 DOT Week filings in minutes.

Does the FMCSA Perform Recordkeeping?

Yes. Suppose a DOT medical examiner finds you physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). In that case, they will give you one copy of their results and also complete a Medical Examiner's Certificate. This certificate must be kept up-to-date as part of the licensing process for any CMV driver. Read about Texas DOT Numbers and USDOT Numbers.

What Is the Standard Procedure for a DOT Physical?

Your medical provider will review your health history and conduct a DOT/DMV/CDL physical exam, which will take approximately 5-10 minutes. During the examination, they will:

  • record your height, weight, and temperature
  • review your system and family history, including medications and supplements
  • screen and evaluate the head, eyes, ears, nose, and throat
  • Check the sounds of your lungs, heart, and abdomen. What is the DOT SAP Program?
  • Assess the range of motion in your neck, back, and extremities
  • and observe specific responses during neurologic testing. What is MC Number?

Will I Have to Bring Documents to the DMV?

If you are applying for a Commercial license such as Class A or B, you must go to your local DMV to take the written exam. However, if you're just renewing your medical card and your license is still valid, then this step can be skipped. Passenger endorsements or holders of NON-commercial licenses do not have to report to the DMV. IFTA Sticker Registration steps.

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    Summary: What Is a DOT Physical Exam?

    • A DOT physical exam is a medical examination required of commercial vehicle drivers to ensure they are healthy enough to drive safely.
    • It is conducted by a medical examiner who is certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Must visit BOC-3
    • The exam includes but is not limited to: a review of an individual’s medical history, vision tests, hearing tests, urine sample collection and analysis, blood pressure check, and drug testing.
    • Other tests may be prescribed to evaluate an individual’s overall mental and physical health if necessary. How Much Does a Dot Number Cost?
    • Drivers must pass this exam every two years or whenever their physician deems it necessary for them to maintain their driving license.
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