In the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires drivers of commercial motor vehicles to pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination.

As a commercial driver, your job is considered “safety-sensitive” — meaning that your job puts both your safety and public safety at risk. Therefore, the DOT physical examination is simply a medical exam to assess for any medical conditions that might negatively impact your ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV).

The DOT medical exam is designed to prevent many motor vehicle crashes and other safety incidents, so getting the exam is a responsible way to do your part of public safety. Keep reading to learn more about the DOT Physical and how to schedule your exam with us at Great City Medical today.

Who needs a DOT Physical Exam?

who needs a dot physical exam

The DOT physical exam is required for many drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL). You’ll need a medical exam if you drive a vehicle that:

• has a gross vehicle weight of over 10,000 pounds;
• is paid to transport over 8 passengers, including the driver;
• is used to transport over 15 passengers, including the driver;
• or hauls hazardous materials that require a placard.

How often do you need a DOT Physical Exam?

how often do you need a dot physical exam
The DOT physical exam is required every two years as long as you operate a commercial vehicle.

CMV drivers are also encouraged to receive their regular checkup from their primary care physician every year.

What do you need to bring to the DOT Physical Exam?

To help the exam run quickly and smoothly, it is best to bring anything you think might be relevant to your health and ability to perform work. Things to bring might include:

  •  A complete list of your doctors and their contact information
  • A complete list of any medication you are taking, including the dosage and prescribing doctor’s name
  • A letter from your doctor if you’re taking any medicines that can cause sleepiness
  • A letter from your doctor if you’re taking the blood thinner called Coumadin
  • Eyeglasses, contact lenses, and/or hearing aids, if you use them
  • If you have diabetes, recent Hemoglobin A1C (HgAIC) test results and blood sugar logs
  • If you have a sleep disturbance such as sleep apnea, a data readout from your machine of at least 90 days
  • If you have a history of heart disease or other heart health issues, a letter from your cardiologist and/or results from any recent stress testing
  • If you have any history of brain injury, a letter from your neurologist
  • A letter from your doctor if you’ve lost permanent use of an arm or leg, including any work restrictions

 

What to expect during a DOT physical exam?

The DOT exam includes a comprehensive review of your medical history and a physical examination by a certified medical examiner.

The medical history review includes questions about:

  • any current medications
  • any history of health conditions
  • if you’ve ever had surgery
  • use of illicit substances and drug testing history
  • any current symptoms
  • other relevant parts of your health history

 

The comprehensive physical exam includes checking things such as:

  • height and weight
  • blood pressure
  • vision test
  • hearing test
  • vascular system and pulse rate
  • mouth and throat
  • urine test
  • blood sugar levels
  • hernias
  • skin
  • lungs and breathing
  • nervous system and reflexes
  • and more

What happens when you get the results of your DOT Physical Exam?

After you complete your exam, your doctor will provide your results with a medical examination report form. You will receive a copy of the form you will be cleared to operate a CMV.

If you fail the exam, you are able to seek a second opinion from another medical examiner. However, you must disclose your results from the first exam to the second examiner. If you fail a second time, you cannot re-apply.

How long is a DOT Physical Exam Good for?

When you pass the medical exam, you will receive a DOT medical card from your medical examiner. Typically, the DOT medical card is valid for 24 months (2 years). However, your medical card may be valid for less time if you have certain medical conditions.

 

Where can I get a DOT Physical Exam?

The DOT exam can be performed only be a certified medical examiner. At Great City Medical in New York City, our certified medical examiners can perform the DOT exam for you. Let us know if you have any questions about the DOT exam. At this time, we cannot accept walk-ins so please call our offices to schedule an appointment today!