If you’re looking to become a driver of a commercial motor vehicle, you’ll need to get a physical exam before the Department of Transportation (DOT) can certify you. An accredited medical examiner (ME) listed in the National Registry of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) must perform this test.
The purpose of a DOT physical is to ensure that you are fit for duty. Once the examiner determines you’re in good enough shape to drive, they’ll issue you a DOT medical card or certificate. However, before this issuance, there are several requirements you’ll have to meet.
You will fill out a form with your information and answer questions regarding your medical history. The medical examiner (ME) will review your answers and ask you further questions. They will get to understand any underlying health issues and previous surgeries you have had as well as the medications you are currently taking. They will also check your pulse, height, weight, and urinalysis results.
Drivers who have diabetes and are insulin-treated don’t need to apply for exemptions anymore. If your condition is managed properly, you only need to visit your treating clinician within 45 days before the physical. You need to bring three months of your electronic glucose records and the assessment form filled out by your clinician. The ME will review the information, and if everything checks, you can be certified for a year.
The ME will also look into any history of vascular, muscular, orthopedic, or neuromuscular diseases. Likewise, they will also check for psychiatric disorders or issues. They need to determine that your condition will not interfere with your ability to operate a motor vehicle. The ME will also check your blood pressure (BP). Those with a dangerously high BP may put themselves and others at risk on the road. To pass this requirement, your BP should measure below 140/90. If you have a history of hypertension, you can still qualify as long as you manage it effectively.
Those who have lost any limb, hand, or foot need to obtain a Skill Performance Evaluation certificate. You need the appropriate prosthetic device, and your ME will evaluate your ability to drive safely.
Drivers looking to secure certification must not have a diagnosis of angina, blood clot risks, or heart attack. Likewise, there are strict regulations that bar those with a history of epilepsy. You need to submit proper documentation that shows your condition is resolved, under control, or your doctor has given you clearance.
The importance of a driver’s sight is quite obvious. If you do not have 20/20 vision, you need not worry. The test allows for the use of corrective lenses, glasses, and contacts. As long as you see properly with them on, you can still pass this requirement. Aside from visual acuity, the test also includes your field of vision. Your sense of sight should be able to span at least 70 degrees temporally.
Lastly, you should be able to distinguish and recognize colors. This requirement is to ensure that you will be able to read signs and signals accurately and quickly. Remember also to bring documentation from your optometrist or ophthalmologist if you have any issues with your vision.
Your sense of hearing is another crucial requirement. The examiner will administer a forced whisper test. They do so by whispering words or numbers from about five feet away while you cover one ear. Those who use hearing aids may make use them during this part of the physical. Applicants who fail the whisper test will have to go through an audiometer test.
The ME will perform several tests on coordination, reflexes, and balance. They will look at any possible limitation of movement, like abnormalities in body parts and functions. Should there be any abnormal findings, the ME will discuss these with you before indicating whether it may affect your ability to drive safely.
Without the proper certification, you cannot become a driver of a commercial motor vehicle. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you find an FMCSA-listed examiner that you can trust. They should be able to run the series of tests accurately and assist you in applying for any necessary exemptions.
The experienced board-certified staff at Patient Care Now Urgent Care can answer any questions you may have about the DOT physical. If you’re ready to come in to get one done, contact us at (267) 202-6433. There is no need to request an appointment, but you may call ahead or check in online to let us know you’re coming.