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The Basics of a DOT Physical

Written by Nick Webster

Published on Dec. 11, 2023, 2:11 p.m.


The Basics of a DOT Physical

Every trucking professional should understand the basics of a DOT physical. “DOT” refers to the US Department of Transportation. This department enforces the use of physical examinations for all commercial drivers. So, what is the purpose of a DOT physical? It’s to ensure that each person driving a vehicle has the right level of fitness. But not only physical fitness. DOT physicals also assess a driver’s emotional and mental fitness. Please continue reading to learn the basics about these important exams. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact our organization. Our experts are standing by to help you out. We can even direct you to a DOT physical in your local area. Read here about Starting a Trucking Company Correctly.

Essential Information About the Exam

FMCSA officials oversee the policies of DOT physicals. (The FMCSA refers to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.) This agency enforces the exams to promote public safety. Every DOT physical examination gets conducted via a medical examiner with licensing. You can find a list of licensed DOT examiners in the FMCSA National Registry. Now, there are more than doctors of medicine (MD) listed in this registry. You'll also find physician assistants (PA) and doctors of osteopathy (DO). The even registry lists doctors of chiropractic (DC) and advanced practice nurses (APN) Every DOT exam will hold validity for no more than 24 months. A medical examiner has the right to provide a certificate for less than 24 months. This happens if an examiner needs to track a specific medical condition. For example, high blood pressure is a common ailment that gets tracked. Visit DOT Authority Package, Tips to prepare for 2023 DOT Week filings in minutes.

Who Must Undergo the DOT Physical?

Here are the types of trucking professionals that need to have DOT physicals. A physical is for anyone driving a vehicle carrying at least 15 people. Say that a driver gets paid to drive a vehicle that can hold at least 8 individuals. That driver must also undergo a physical with the DOT. Do you transport hazardous materials and your vehicle has a placard? If so, you will also need to get an exam. Let’s say that you operate your vehicle on the interstate. Plus, the vehicle has a gross vehicle weight rating above 10,001 pounds. Or, a gross combination weight exceeding 10,001 pounds. Either way, you must also receive an official physical per the DOT. For additional programs, check out MCS-150, Must visit FMCSA Hours of Service Suspended topics.

What Happens During DOT Physicals?

Let’s now go over what the average DOT physical consists of. You will begin the exam by speaking with a registered health care provider. This provider will ask specific questions about your medical history. Here are some examples of common questions. “Have you ever had surgery?” “What prescription medicines do you take?” “Have you had any health problems?” “Do you use alcohol, tobacco, or any illegal substances?” “Have you ever failed a drug test?” Visit How To Pass Dot Drug Test? “Do you have any medical symptoms at the moment?” Next, the healthcare provider will perform a hands-on physical. This part of the physical often begins by checking weight, height, and blood pressure. Then, the provider will assess hearing, vision, skin, ears, eyes, mouth, and throat. But that's not all. Expect the provider to examine your heart, chest, lungs, abdomen, and spine. Even your genital and urinary systems will get evaluated. This includes checking for hernias. The provider will also focus on your nervous system and how you walk. Plus, expect your circulatory system to get assessed. This includes your veins, arteries, and lymphatic system. Also, take a look at the Drug and Alcohol Program policy. What is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement?

More Information About What the Physical Consists Of

The average patient in a DOT exam will also need to undergo a urinalysis. The purpose is to check for blood, sugar, and protein. Say that any test in your physical results in an abnormal reading. Your doctor might then have to run extra tests. Doing so can ensure that you do not have separate medical problems. Here is an example of extra testing during a DOT physical. Let’s say that you display symptoms of sleep apnea. The medical provider can then run a sleep apnea test. (Sleep apnea involves difficulty breathing while sleeping.) Common sleep apnea symptoms include heavy snoring and gasping for breath. Even a sore throat in the morning could function as a sign of this medical condition. Check out The Basics of Farm Exemptions. You will then have the ability to maintain complete motor carrier authority..

FMCSA Recordkeeping Policy

If your physical exam goes well, here's what the DOT-certified medical examiner will do. He or she writes down that the person examined has qualifications to operate CMVS. (CMV stands for the commercial motor vehicle.) This takes place via furnishing a copy of the positive results to the person examined. Then, the examiner will provide an official Medical Examiner's Certificate. That certificate will go on record with the FMCSA. Also, take a look at What Is IRP or Apportioned Registration.

How Do I Receive a Physical Through the DOT?

Remember, each DOT physical only gets performed through a specific type of professional. In this case, it’s a healthcare professional with FMCSA certification. The key is to go online and search for an FMCSA-certified medical examiner. Once again, not all licensed medical examiners function as doctors of medicine (MDs). There are also physician assistants (PA) and doctors of osteopathy (DO). Even advanced practice nurses (APN) and doctors of chiropractors (DC) perform physicals. Check out Starting a Trucking Company Package

How Do Trucking Professionals Prepare for Their Physicals?

Do you want to save some time when getting a DOT physical? If so, trucking professionals can fill out the driver’s part of an exam at home. Now, here's what you should bring to your DOT exam. First, you'll need a list of each of your doctor’s addresses and names. Then, make a separate list of every medication that you take. Say that you use contacts, hearing aids, or glasses. Write down that you use one or more of these items. Do you have diabetes? If so, present your most recent Hgb A1C. Plus, provide a record of your latest blood sugar readings. If you have sleep apnea, you must also provide more information. Check UCR filing. The DOT medical examiner will need a 90-day CPAP machine record. Let’s say that you’ve experienced heart issues in the past. The DOT medical professional will ask you to provide a letter from your cardiologist. This letter has to state that you're deemed safe to drive a commercial vehicle. Have you had heart tests? If so, provide the medical results of recent tests. In some cases, younger medicines trigger sleepiness. You must provide medical records and a letter from your doctor at the physical. That’s also the case if you do not have the use of a leg or arm. Do you take a blood thinner known as Coumadin? If so, you must also provide a letter from your doctor during the DOT exam. Also, you will need to show results from a recent clearance and blood level test. Check out Driver Qualification Files.

Can Certain Conditions Stop Me From Receiving a DOT Medical Card?

Yes. Any condition interfering with driving ability will get you disqualified, per the DOT. That's why the main purpose of DOT physicals is to check for these conditions. For example, say something affects your vision or hearing in a negative manner. You could then suffer an accident in your vehicle. The DOT and FMCSA feature a complete list of medical conditions. Please contact our organization if you need help accessing this list. But do not despair if you have one or more of the conditions. The FMCSA can allow exemptions if specific conditions improve. It’s also up to your DOT medical examiner to assess whether you can drive. Visit the Drug and Alcohol Program.

Are DOT Physicals Expensive?

“How much does a DOT physical cost?” That's a common question that our organization receives. Well, there is no specific answer. DOT physical cost comes down to many different factors. Some cost around $50. But a certain type of DOT physical can cost almost $200. It depends on the exact DOT physical requirements that you need. The key is to call around local medical organizations in your area. What is DOT Audit? You can ask, “how much is a DOT physical?” over the phone. But keep in mind that the costs can change from year to year. For example, there were “newDOT physical requirements 2021” put in place. But the following year, the agency created “new DOT physical requirements 2022.” These new requirements affected the average cost of DOT physicals in each state. You will need driver qualification files filed out by all employees that drive for you working.

The Three Steps of Receiving Your DOT Physical

Getting a DOT physical exam is not that difficult. The key is to pass all requirements that the Department of Transportation has. Let’s go over this three-step process. This way, you can understand that receiving a physical is simple and straightforward. Must visit Motor Carrier Authority

Step: Get Your DOT Exam Scheduled

The first step is to contact a local medical professional. This person must have DOT physical certification. Then, you can schedule an appointment. Some medical organizations even allow walk-ins to take place. How to Process BOC-3 Filing via our Agent.

Step #2: Receive the Physical

It’s now time to undergo your DOT medical examination. An exam often begins with a review of your health history. Then, a thorough physical examination will take place. Plus, you will need to take part in a urine test.

Step #3: Access Your Medical Exam Report

You've now completed the DOT exam. The examiner will file his or her official report on an electronic basis. This report will get sent out to the NRCME. It stands for the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Say that the report states that you've passed your physical. Congratulations- you're now a DOT-certified driver. As a result, you will receive your copy of the Medical Examiner's Certificate. What is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement?

Need Help Receiving a DOT Physical Near Your Location? Contact Us

Our experts are here to help you receive a DOT physical ASAP. We can begin by helping you find a place to have an exam in your local area. As you can tell, the FMCSA features tons of regulations for commercial drivers. But you're not in this alone. The team can answer your questions about regulations. All you need to do is give our third-party specialists a phone call. This way, you'll know what to expect when you work with a certified medical examiner. Once you pass your physical, we’re prepared to take care of all your vehicle registration. This way, you can make money as a commercial driver ASAP. Importance of The FMCSA 30-Minute Break Rule.
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