What are DOT physicals?

Federal law requires drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to receive regular physical examinations. The official name for these exams is “Department of Transportation Medical Examinations,” but it’s often shortened to “DOT physicals.” DOT physicals are designed to detect physical, mental, and emotional issues that can impact a CMV driver’s ability to safely spend long hours on the road. They’re also regulated by law to protect driver safety.

Because they are so heavily regulated, DOT exams can only be given by certified medical examiners, or CMEs. These examiners are specially trained to understand the FMCSA regulations and prevent drivers from being inappropriately disqualified. Regulations change regularly, and it’s important to stay updated.

DOT physicals are essential for your business

You can’t legally do business as a CMV driver unless you’re cleared for the road. Because of this, DOT physicals are a must-have if you’re a commercial driver or employ commercial drivers. They help ensure your drivers will be safe on the road, and keep you in compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Getting your DOT physical has never been easier.

Time is precious. We don’t want to waste yours. Here’s what to expect from our clinicians during your DOT physical exam:

STEP 1: Schedule your appointment

We accept walk-ins, but recommend you schedule an appointment prior to your visit to reduce your wait time.

STEP 2: Get your physical

We will perform an examination, including:

  • Health history review
  • A thorough physical exam
  • A urine test

STEP 3:

We’ll complete the Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver Fitness Determination form and its supporting documentation, including DOT physical forms.

You must pass all DOT physical requirements in order to be cleared for your CDL medical card. Find out more about important DOT physical regulations to be aware of.

Keep the following in mind before your DOT physical visit:

  • To speed up your visit please fill out the driver’s portion of the Medical Examination Report prior to your visit. 
  • Insurance does not cover this exam – some employers may pay for this exam

 

What to bring

DOT Checklist

All drivers

  • Bring a complete list of ALL of your medications, including the doses and your doctors’ names and addresses
  • You may want to complete section 1: Driver Information of the exam (driver’s portion) to save time at the center

Drivers who have high blood pressure

  • Your blood pressure MUST be below 140/90 on the day of your exam or you may not qualify for a DOT card

Drivers who require eyeglasses, contact lenses, or hearing aids

  • Bring your glasses, contacts, or hearing aids
  • You will be required to pass a vision and hearing test

Drivers who have diabetes

  • Your blood sugar should be controlled
  • Bring the most recent results of a lab test called a Hemoglobin A1C (HgAIC) and your blood sugar logs or other records related to your diabetes

Drivers who have nighttime sleep disturbance (sleep apnea) and use a CPAP machine

  • Bring a reading from your machine documenting your proper use of the machine; a letter from your sleep specialist may also be required
  • Bring at least 90 days of data, but data from the past year is best

Drivers who have heart-related issues, (including the use of stent, valve replacement, pacemaker, open-heart surgery, cardiac bypass surgery, or heart attack)

  • At minimum, bring a letter from your cardiologist (heart specialist) that outlines your medical history and current medications and indicates you are safe to drive a DOT vehicle
  • You may also need to bring the results of a recent stress test, ECHO cardiogram, or other testing completed within the past 1-2 years

Drivers who have suffered a stroke, a brain tumor, seizure disorder, or bleeding in the brain

  • Bring a letter from your neurologist (brain and nerve specialist) that outlines your medical history, current medications, and current neurologic and psychiatric state

Drivers who have experienced the permanent loss of use in an arm or a leg

  • Bring an overview from your physician of the injury and if you have any work restrictions due to the injury
  • You may need a Skilled Performance Examination in order to qualify for your DOT card

Drivers who are taking any medications that may cause sedation or sleepiness or controlled substances (includes narcotics, sleeping pills, anxiety medication, ADHD medication)

  • You will most likely need a note and medical records from your treating physician regarding the safety of driving a DOT vehicle while using these medications

Drivers who are taking the blood thinner Coumadin (Warfarin)

  • Bring a recent INR (blood level and clearance) letter from your doctor

If you are uncertain if you will qualify for a DOT card, you may want to schedule a visit with your primary or specialty physician BEFORE your re-certification date. Each physical examination, just like each DOT applicant, is unique.

The above are guidelines only, and not meant to be all inclusive or as a guarantee of passing the exam. Additional testing or/information may be required by your DOT examiner.

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