In most cases, truck drivers may be required to get a DOT physical before they can begin truck driving school. CDL training schools and all trucking companies will expect you to pass a DOT physical before you begin any truck driving job and then get the examination every other two years. A DOT physical exam is a must in order to operate any commercial vehicle. Its commonly referred to as “medical fitness for duty” examination which ascertains that each driver is able and healthy enough to successfully carry out their duties that are associated with commercial driving.
FMCSA determines the health standards and every DOT physical examination must be carried out by a qualified and certified medical practitioner to be sure that the highest quality standards are met in the course of the examination. The main aim of a DOT physical is to ensure the well being of the CDL holder and all the other drivers who are sharing the road with him.
What should you expect during your DOT Physical?
It’s important to first schedule your appointment at the clinic you intend to get your DOT physical so that you can cut back on the amount of wait time and to also ensure the DOT approved physician is available at the time you get there.
Your Health History
Before you can meet the physician who will carry out the physical, you should fill out the top section of the DOT physical examination form you are issued with. The first part, you are required to fill in your name, date of birth, social security number, telephone number, driver’s license and address. The second part requires you to fill in details about your medical history. You should state whether you have suffered from any of these medical conditions:
• Heart disease
• Inability to hear
• Impaired vision
• Kidney disease
• Digestive problems
• Chronic pain
• Psychiatric disorders
• Missing limbs
• Spinal cord injuries
• Brain injuries
It’s important to answer all the questions truthfully since if discovered you have lied, you could face serious legal charges.
For commercial drivers with some health issues, then there are some restrictions. For example,
• If you take injectable insulin for diabetes, you cannot be issued with a commercial driver’s license.
• You must have correctable 20/40 vision in both eyes. The DOT allows one to put on contact lenses or glasses to improve their eye vision.
• You cannot use habit forming drugs such as narcotics if you want to get a commercial driver’s license.
• Your blood sugar level should be below 200
• You should provide additional information from your doctor especially if you have any cardiac issues at the time of the exam.
What other medical factors can impact your DOT physical?
There are some conditions that can be disclosed during the DOT physical that can deter a driver from getting the DOT medical card. They may include:
• A current hernia
• Recent major surgery
• Sleep apnea
• Recent injury
What is a DOT Physical Exam Procedure like?
If you want to fully comply with the federal law, then only an accredited medical practitioner should complete your DOT physical form. This examiner may be a nurse practitioner, a physician or a doctor. The examiner will review your health history and then ask you to tell them if there are any medications you take on a daily basis. The examiner will also carry out the following physical tests during your DOT physical:
• Examine your throat, ears, eyes and mouth
• Carry out an hernia check
• Carry out a neurological examination
• Listen to your heart beat and lungs
• Check whether your spine has any form of deformities
• Press your abdomen to find out whether there are any abnormalities
• Carry out a vision test
• Check your general appearance
• Check your blood pressure and pulse
DOT Physical Forms
After the medical examiner has completed all your DOT physical requirements, you will talk about any dangers that may have been created by your health history or current medical condition. The examiner should write down any dangers on your DOT physical form and establish whether you are eligible for getting a medical certificate.
If you are qualified and you do not require any periodic medical monitoring, then your certificate should be valid for two years. However, there are some cases that may require the medical examiner to give a certificate that lasts for six months, or a year. The examiner also writes down whether you should put on corrective lenses or hearing aids during that period. If you do not meet the standards then the examiner may be unable to issue you with a valid medical certificate.