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New DOT Physical Requirements

Written by Nick Webster

Published on May 1, 2023, 11:31 a.m.


Here are some essential new DOT physical requirements:

  • The Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam must be completed by a medical examiner listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry. Also, visit the link to learn more information.
  • The medical examiner determines whether an individual is physically qualified to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).
  • Drivers will be required to show proof of negative results from the following tests: urine drug screen, vision and hearing tests, blood pressure checks, and urinalysis.
  • Drivers must also provide information regarding their medical history and any medications they are taking.
  • Additionally, drivers must undergo testing for sleep apnea if the medical examiner believes there may be a potential risk factor. Must visit How Long Is a DOT Physical Good For?

What Are DOT Physicals & Who Must Have One?

Are you a commercial driver? You'll need to ensure that you get the necessary medical examinations every two years so that your ability to operate a large vehicle safely is certified. That's where the Department of Transportation Physical comes in. This series of exams evaluates physical flexibility and strength, visual acuity, mental health, and cognitive function – all necessary components for driving on public roads with a GVWR over 10k pounds. Don't forget to renew your medical examiner’s certificate by federal regulations! Must visit How Much Does a DOT Physical Cost?

Strict DOT medical card requirements and physicals are in place to keep drivers and the people on the roads safe. Having up-to-date physicals, it helps ensure that any conditions that could impact a driver's ability to drive safely are identified. This is especially important if someone is transporting hazardous materials or operating a vehicle with more than 15 passengers (8 passengers if they get paid). Knowing of any potential medical issues can help keep everyone safe by preventing accidents caused by unforeseen conditions. Must visit Medical Variance of DOT Physicals.

What Are the Major DOT Physical Requirements?

Taking a DOT physical is an integral part of ensuring the safety of all drivers on the road. The examination takes less than an hour and is designed to evaluate your overall physical health by covering several key areas. Here are some of the elements you can expect during a DOT physical:

  • The physical exam. The medical examiner will conduct a physical assessment on you, considering your lungs, back, ability to bend and twist, blood pressure, breathing patterns, arthritis levels, and general health. Visit What is MC Number? Although the job is not overly physically demanding, there are basic functional requirements that must be met. Drivers who have lost limbs, fingers, or toes can still become qualified by obtaining a variance from their home state; they must always carry this document with them. Read here about Starting a Trucking Company Correctly.
  • A vision test. Vision is an essential factor in safe driving. Drivers must demonstrate to the licensing authority that they have visual acuity of at least 20/40, either with or without corrective lenses. Your peripheral vision and ability to differentiate between red, green, and amber colors will also be assessed. These tests must be passed successfully to ensure that drivers on the road remain safe and aware of their surroundings. What is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement?
  • The hearing test. Drivers must be able to recognize a "forced whisper" from a distance of over 5 feet, regardless of whether they are wearing a hearing aid or not. This is an essential skill for ensuring the safety of both the driver and other road users. How To Request the DOT PIN Number?
  • Urine testing. The DOT urine test is an important tool used to uncover potential health issues such as diabetes. Even though it's not routinely part of a DOT urinary exam, pre-employment drug screening is still necessary for those applying for driving jobs. With the introduction of new regulations in recent years, employers must adhere to DOT stipulations on this matter. What is Unified Carrier Registration?
  • Pulse and blood pressure checks. If you have high blood pressure, changing your diet and drinking more water can help reduce it. To pass the Department of Transportation physical exam, drivers should maintain a blood pressure below 140/90. If your numbers are outside of this range, you may be given a 3-6 month or 1-year certificate so that you have enough time to work on improving them. Keep in mind that changes take time, so don't give up! What is the DOT SAP Program?

What Are Some New DOT Physical Requirements?

Staying up-to-date on physical requirements is increasingly important, and this year brings some new regulations to be mindful of. Medical professionals have reevaluated their assessments and removed any outdated or unnecessary rules while introducing fresh ones. So make sure you're well informed. Here are the latest guidelines that apply to DOT physicals:

-Drug testing. This year, the FMCSA has updated its regulations to include a new rule on drug testing. Drivers can now be disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle if they use any Schedule 1 controlled substances, including marijuana, even when a doctor prescribes it. Drug testing is generally left up to employers and is not part of the DOT physical exam. However, this new rule changes that, and drivers must understand their responsibilities in staying compliant with FMCSA regulations. Importance of The FMCSA 30-Minute Break Rule. Prepare for a DOT physical, including but not limited to a comprehensive health assessment.

Drivers operating commercial motor vehicles must adhere to strict regulations and standards to keep roads safe. As such, CDL drivers are subject to urine tests to ensure they are not using substances that may impair their driving ability. In addition to alcohol, CDL drivers will be tested for the presence of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines (methamphetamine, amphetamine, MDMA or MDA), opiates (heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, oxymorphone or hydromorphone), and phencyclidine (PCP). Moreover, taking medications without a valid prescription can result in disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle. Must visit FMCSA Hours of Service Suspended topics. Also, take a look at the Drug and Alcohol Program policy.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) may disqualify a driver if they are habitually using any narcotic, including those with a valid prescription. However, if the doctor has certified that the non-schedule one drug use will not affect their ability to complete their job duties safely and effectively, then the driver will not be disqualified. Visit the DOT Authority Package, which contains tips to prepare for 2022 DOT Week filings in minutes. How do you get an Oregon Trip And Fuel Permit?

-Visual acuity. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (49 CFR, part 391 & 391.41), commercial drivers must have at least 20/40 vision in each eye with or without lenses and a peripheral vision of 70" in both eyes. This ensures that drivers can safely operate vehicles on public roads and highways. Learn here How to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit.

-Hearing. All commercial drivers must meet specific medical standards before legally operating a vehicle. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), truck and bus drivers must be able to hear a forced whisper from five feet away to qualify for a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL). If they rely on hearing aids, those devices must be worn while driving. FMCSA rules are detailed in 49 CFR, parts 391 & 391.41. Read about Texas DOT Numbers and USDOT Numbers.

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-Blood pressure. To pass the DOT physical, a driver must have a resting blood pressure of 140/90 or lower, according to the FMCSA. All drivers must adhere to this requirement to be considered at ease and ready for work. Check out The Basics of Farm Exemptions. You will then be able to maintain complete motor carrier authority or broker. What are the Top 3 DOT paper-appointed Violations?

What Do I Bring To a DOT Physical Exam?

  • Government-issued identification (Driver's license, state ID, birth certificate).
  • Glasses/contacts if needed for driving.
  • A full list of any medications you are currently taking.
  • Previous medical reports and records, if applicable.
  • A medical card or Form MCSA-5876 to fill out before the exam.
  • List any allergies or medical conditions you have, including dates of onset and details of treatments received. Visit Broker Authority Package
  • Employer’s contact information in case they need to be contacted regarding your physical examination results. Learn About FMCSA Registration
  • Hearing aids/devices required for driving may be necessary.

How Should I Schedule My DOT Physical?

The simplest way to start with a DOT physical is to ask your primary care physician. They may be certified to take the exam or have information on where you can go for it. If you're unsure, employers can search the FMCSA’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners and point you in the right direction. How Much Does a Dot Number Cost

What If I’m Taking Blood Pressure Medicine?

Your blood pressure must be managed and maintained below 140/90 mm Hg when you come in for your DOT exam. To ensure the best outcome, it can be beneficial to bring a note from your doctor stating that you are receiving treatment for hypertension and that your medication is working correctly. Doing so will help the DOT examiner understand your health status and better evaluate whether you are fit to operate a commercial motor vehicle. You were filed out by all employees who drove for you to work. Also, take a look at what IRP or Apportioned Registration is.

    Summary: New DOT Physical Requirements

    • DOT Physicals now require a medical history review, including any illnesses or conditions that could interfere with the driver's ability to perform their job safely.
    • A comprehensive physical exam is also required, including vision and hearing tests, blood pressure checks, and other assessments. Must visit BOC-3
    • Drivers must submit proof of up-to-date vaccinations and provide documentation from a healthcare provider if they have any preexisting conditions that may affect their driving abilities.
    • Urine drug screening is now an essential part of the process, as well as Alcohol Breath Testing (ABT). What is the UCR program?
    • Any health issues found during the evaluation will be considered when determining whether or not the driver is fit for duty on public roads.
    • Please note that these requirements related to the DOT physical are subject to change at any time.

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