A Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination must be conducted by a licensed "medical examiner" listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry.
A DOT physical exam is valid for up to 24 months. The medical examiner may also issue a medical examiner's certificate for less than 24 months when it is desirable to monitor a condition, such as high blood pressure.
What are DOT Physicals?
Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers are required by Federal law to receive regular physical examinations under the Department of Transportation. DOT physicals are highly regulated for the drivers’ safety and are designed to detect physical, mental, and emotional issues that can affect a driver’s ability to safely drive a commercial vehicle.
WHY DO I NEED A DOT PHYSICAL?
Commercial drivers or those who employee commercial drivers MUST have a DOT physical and valid DOT Certification Card. The DOT certification covers the driver and the employer ensuring all drivers are safe on the road, compliant with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
WHAT THE DOT EXAM COVERS
A DOT includes an evaluation of an employee’s vision, hearing, blood pressure/pulse rate, and overall physical ability. It will also test for illegal drugs. Bring a complete list of medications with the doses and doctors’ information. If you require corrective vision or hearing bring your eyeglasses, contacts, or hearing aids. Bring documentation or information for any other medical conditions. No fasting is required.
WHAT TO BRING TO A DOT EXAM
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 page one of the exam (driver’s portion) to save time
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 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 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 night time 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.
Department of Transportation (DOT) Physicals