Notably, the regular physical examinations for drivers of commercial vehicles are called DOT Physical or “Department of Transportation Medical Examinations”.
If you are a driver and you operate with a gross vehicle weight of at least 10.000 pounds , if you transport hazardous materials or you are driving a vehicle requiring a CDL, than you must do a DOT physical examination.
Considered as a “Medical FItness for Duty ” , DOT Physical is an examination just that aims to determine whether a driver is capable of being on the road. The role of this examination is to determine if the driver’s (CMV) health fulfills FMCSA standards.
The main things that are being examined with DOT Physical are the present and past conditions of the driver. After doing this examination FMCSA will determine if the driver can meet the physical and mental requirements of the job.
Only certified Medical Examiners that are listed on the FMCSA’s National Registry can conduct the CMV driver examinations.
Another key point of going through a DOT Physical is that it can be done regardless if you have or you don’t have insurance. Usually if you don’t have insurance DOT Phisical will cost you between 50$ and 300$.
Subsequently CMV drivers must fulfill a higher physical, mental and emotional standards than the regular drivers. FMCSA decided to perform the DOT physical in order to make sure that the drivers are medically qualified to operate CDL.
This examination is so important because the drivers must be able to do all the safety inspections before and after the trip. With the obtained DOT physical certificate the driver is qualified not only to drive safely but also to do any job duty.
Most common duties of the driver are to : couple and uncouple the trailers, to load and unload as well as to inspect the vehivle and trailes, to lift and install tarps. So in order for the driver to be able to perform his duties he should be able to make quick decisions, to have manipulative skills and perceptual skills.
Therefore if the driver doesn’t have any restrictions, then DOT Physical examination is done every 2 years. But if the driver takes medications for blood pressure or diabetes they should go through this examination every year.
In some special occasions the examiner can issue a certificate that lasts for only three or six months. For example if the driver has too high blood sugar be might be given 3 month card ,in order for the driver to go to see a doctor earlier and to take medications regularly.
As a matter of fact if the driver has less than 20/40 correctable vision in both eyes, if he takes injectable insulin for diabetes or if he uses nascotics, amphetamines, he wont’t be able to get a DOT card.
By the same token, you should never consider using a modified or old version of the DOT card. If you try to do that the card won’t be accepted by the FMCSA and the state license agencies.
The procedure of DOT Physical doesn’t take long , usually it takes around 30-45 minutes. Only if there are any concerns regarding driver’s health only in that case it would take longer.
Furthermore, the drivers that have any specific health conditions they should take with them a documentation from their treating physician when going on DOT Physical.
Before starting the examination the driver must fill some paperwork. In the paperwork he must indicate if he has any:
So the procedure of DOT Physical includes :
In case if the doctor determines that the driver does not meet all criteria , in that case he will not be able to issue a valid medical certificate.
In order for the drivers to go through a successful DOT Physical examination it is good for them to get prepared before they go. So no matter if the driver has already been on a DOT Physical or not, it is recommended from OOIDA that the driver should start to prepare 30 days in advance.
First of all when it comes to the truck driversthat have never been on this examination, it is good for them to get in touch with their doctor as well as with their coleagues to hear their experience.
There are a lot of helpful truck driver forums that can be found on the internet where truck drivers submit their reviews of their DOT Physical examination.
Truck drivers before going to the examination should get informed how much the exam will cost. In most of the cases the company pays for the DOT Physical ,but still there are cases where the insurance companies or the drivers pay for the DOT Physical exam.
Another very important part of their preparation should be the documentation requirements for insurance and the medical conditions thet the driver is being treated for, also the registration for the truck.
Having experience with DOT Physical examination we would like to provide you with few helpful secret tips :
In order for the driver to be operating the vehicle he must be completely healthy and medically qualified. When doing a DOT Physical there are certain obstacles that can keep you away from obtaining a DOT Physical certificate.
According to FMCSA the drivers that have the following medical conditions won’t be able to pass the examination :
Over-weighted truck drivers don’t have to worry because there are no restrictions regarding the weight. They can get a certificate. Over-weighted truck drivers should be very careful because being overweight can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease.
To put it briefly, in order for truck drivers to continue driving certain commercial vehicles doing a DOT Physical examination is a must.This exam is most important for the drivers whose job depends on a valid CDL as well as it concerns the truckers who are training for CDL.
Thereupon if you want to continue driving a commercial vehicle that has a gross combination weight of 10,001 pounds or more, a vehicle designed for transport of more than 8 people , vehicle designed to transport hazardous material , you must carry with you a valid medical card .
We hope that in this article we included all the necessary information about what a DOT Physical is.
If you are already in the trucking business with years , please share your experience about doing the DOT physical examination to help your coleagues.