DOT Physical Examination- An Important Test To Operate Commercial Vehicles

What exactly is a DOT physical examination? Is it something like the PLAID physical examination or a STRIPE physical examination? Well, No. DOT stands for the Department Of Transportation. Commercial drivers, such drivers of trucks or buses, are required to undergo a DOT physical exam to receive a special license to operate the vehicle.

What exactly is the DOT physical exam?

If you are a commercial driver, then you might have been asked to get a DOT physical exam done. Strictly mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the DOT physical checkup will give you clearance for driving commercial vehicles. It also helps make sure that you and other professional commercial drivers can handle long hours of driving, the miscellaneous schedules as well as the stress of operating the commercial vehicles.

The FMCSA requires all the commercial drivers to receive a certificate of good health, which you will get only after passing the DOT physical exam. So those drivers who are listed on the registry, have undergone the right training as per FMCSA regulations and have the right to know if they are healthy enough to operate safely and make sure that they are not wrongly disqualified.

A DOT physical might sound like overwhelming processing owing to the strict guidelines and regulations set by the FMCSA for it. So, to make it a simplified process, below is a brief overview of the DOT physical.

Do you need a DOT physical exam?

Yes, you are required to get a DOT physical examination if you fall into one of the below-mentioned categories:

  • If you operate a vehicle used for commercial purposes and that has a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating or a combination weight rating of more than ten thousand pounds.
  • If you operate a vehicle that is designed to transport more than eight people.
  • If you are who operate a vehicle that is used to transport hazardous materials.
  • How Much Does The Dot Physical Exam Cost?

    In the modern economy, this is on the forefront of every person’s mind. Does your existing medical insurance cover a DOT exam? Usually, the insurance does not cover such appointments.

    Your employer may cover the cost of the exam. If neither your insurance nor your employer cover the cost of the exam, the cost of the exam may be a job related expense and therefore a tax deduction. (Please consult with your tax prepared for details.)

    At The Charlotte DOT Exam Center we charge $60.00 for the exam.

    Drug testing is available for the charge of $60.00.

    What should you bring to a DOT Physical?

    You are required to provide a complete list of the medication, which includes the medicine doses and the names and addresses of the doctors. To avoid having an incomplete examination it is recommended that you make a list of all medications prior to your appointment.

    To ensure that the DOT exam runs satisfactorily and steadily, you should carry appropriate items or documents if you have any specific medical problems. For instance,

    • If you have a certain kind of problem in your hearing or vision, then you should carry hearing aids, contact lens, eyeglasses with to you the clinic.
    • If you have diabetes, then you are required to bring the most recent lab test results (a1c) as well as the blood sugar logs.
    • If you have any heart-related issue, then you are required to get a letter from your cardiologist that reflects the medical history as well as the present medications, and shows that you are safe to work.
    • If you have any kidney disease, digestive issues or any chronic pain or any other health related issues, please bring a letter from the treating physician explaining the issue, the treatment and your compliance and how well you are tolerating the treatment.

    It is critically important, to be honest, and share details of your prior or current health conditions. If you fail to do so, then you may have your certificate revoked.

    What the Dot Physical Exam Covers?

    The DOT physical exam checks a driver’s health and body for any kind of abnormalities in the below-mentioned areas like:

    • Overall appearance:

    The doctor/medical examiner who will be conducting the DOT physical and examining you at the clinic will check to determine whether you are overweight and have any other obvious health issues like tremors, shaking, excessive, etc.

    • Eyes:

    Your eyes will be checked to see if they have proper dilation, movement or any structural problems. Moreover, the doctor will also check your overall vision. You need to have at least 20/40 vision in each of your eyes, with/without correction, at least 70” field of vision in the Horizontal meridian in each of your eyes. You are also required to have the ability to recognize the colors displayed by traffic signals- i.e., standard green, red, and yellow’ as well as other devices.

    DOT Physical Exam Covers

    • Ears:

    The doctor will check for any kind of blockage and structural abnormalities, like any holes present in the eardrum. You are required to have ‘forced whisper’ ranging at a distance of five feet or more, with/without any hearing aid. Plus, you should not have more than 40 dB of hearing loss, with/without any hearing aid.

    You will be checked for breathing or swallowing problems or any other kind of throat or mouth problems, which typically will deal with sleep apnea.

    The doctor will check your heart for any erratic beating, murmurs, or any other unusual sounds. You will be questioned to know if have a pacemaker or other device installed in the heart.

    The doctor will check your blood pressure as well as the pulse rate to know if you have high blood pressure as well as irregular heartbeats.

    The DOT exam medical examiner will listen as well as watch the breathing pattern you have. If he/she suspects any issues they might have to get a chest x-ray done.

    If you snore or are using a CPAP machine, make sure to bring in your CPAP report so that your exam may be completed without you having to return. Without the report, your exam will be pended until the report is presented to the examiner.

    Your vision will be tested and will need to be no worse than 20/40 in either eye or in both. If your vision is worse than 20/40, you need to be evaluated and fitted for corrective lenses.

    • Urinalysis:

    A urinalysis is needed for drug screen and glucose levels. Additionally, this test helps to know if you have any underlying medical conditions like diabetes. If you are a diabetic, please bring in your most recent A1C which should be 8% or below. Higher numbers or insulin dependent diabetics may be disqualified without a diabetic waiver.

    • Abdomen and Organs:

    The doctor will check for any masses or enlargements, odd tenderness upon palpitation, or any strange sounds.

    • Vascular (blood movement):

    Again, your blood flow and pulse will be examined at several points in your body to check if you have the varicose veins.

    • Extremities or Limbs:

    The doctor will check if you have any missing limbs. He or she will also check for lack of strength, any weakness, and the range of movement in your limbs and extremities.

    • Neurological:

    You will be checked for your stability, balance, mental clarity, reflexes, and your speech coordination.

    • Spine/Skeletal:

    The doctor will check your spine to check if there are any unusual or crooked areas or any weakness.

    How often do you need the exam?

    Generally, the physical examination is good for two years. However, if you have chronic diseases and other specialty health conditions, then you may have to be tested more often than that. The doctor conducting the DOT physical will have that information. The doctor will also have the necessary paperwork which you need to submit to the Department of Motor Vehicles to be issued the DOT license you are looking for.

    What if you fail the test?

    Failing the test does not necessarily mean that you are prohibited from becoming a driver. You should ask the doctor about the reason why you failed and improve the disqualifying health condition with treatment if possible and then try again.

    The DOT physical examination accesses your general health and your emotional and mental fitness for meeting the demands of professional driving. It is primarily easy, fast and painless. Come in, listen to the simple instructions given to you by the doctor, and you will be out of the clinic in no time having the proper certification completed.