DOT PHYSICALS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
The DOT physical exam is a necessary test for any individual hoping to get behind the wheel of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). This examination makes sure that all commercial drivers are up to par in their daily health examinations and are at peak performance. It ensures that you or other CMV drivers are physically able to handle the long hours and stress of operating a commercial vehicle.
A DOT physical is a checkup that’s required for commercial vehicle drivers by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This exam makes sure you’re able to meet the physical requirements of your job. This includes being able to tolerate the health risks posed by sitting for long periods of time.
What Does this Exam Consist of?
A DOT Physical evaluates a driver’s vision, blood pressure, and a complete review of their medical history.
This can help ensure that a driver does not have certain health conditions and can safely operate a commercial vehicle.
Here are the different parts of a DOT Physical Exam.
A Vision Test
During a DOT Physical, your doctor will test you for at least 20/40 vision for both eyes. If you wear prescription glasses, please be sure to bring them along. You will also be tested to distinguish various colors with and without your prescribed lenses.
A Hearing Test
Another portion of the test includes a hearing test. With or without hearing aids, a driver must be able to hear a forced whisper” from less than five feet away.
You will be asked to take a urinalysis test. This test will help determine if you might have a medical condition or any irregularities that require immediate attention.
Blood Pressure/ Pulse Rate
You will also have a blood pressure and pulse test taken. This will help check for any abnormalities and make sure that you are healthy enough to sit for long periods of time.
There will also be a physical exam that occurs during your DOT Exam.
You will be tested for:
- General appearance (weight, tremors, drug/alcohol problems)
- Mouth & Throat (breathing and swallowing)
- Lungs & Chest (breathing)
- Abdomen & Organs (unusual masses, hernias, weakness)
- Vascular System (weak pulse, blood flow, varicose veins)
- Limbs (Loss or damage, weakness)
- Skeletal (limitation, tenderness)
- Neurological (balance, reflexes, speech)
The DOT Standard
FMSCA-CFR 391.41, Subpart E
Drivers who operate the following vehicles in interstate commerce require a DOT physical and medical examination:
- Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), or gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 10,001 pounds or more
- Vehicles designed to transport more than 15 passengers, or more than 8 passengers when there is direct compensation involved
- Vehicles transporting hazardous materials that require the vehicle to be placarded.