Truck driving is a career that requires excellent health. Spending a lot of time seated is a great health risk. Health of a truck driver must be tested to be sure that they are healthy enough to take that risk before hit the road.
To minimize health problems for drivers and keep the roads safe, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires all drivers to pass a DOT medical exam before gaining a CDL. If you are going to earn your commercial driver’s license, learn more about the DOT physical exam.
What are the DOT Physical Exam Requirements?
- Vision – It’s important to see clearly on the road. Your eyes will be tested, both separately and together. A truck driver must meet the vision requirement of at least 20/40 on the Snellen eye test in both eyes with or without corrective lenses. Contact lenses or glasses are allowed.
- Hearing – They test your ability to hear a forced whisper from five feet away. Hearing aids are allowed if you can perceive the sound from five feet away in at least one ear.
- Color Distinction – A person, who is color blind or has problems distinguishing between the red, green, and yellow colors used in traffic signals, is not allowed to be a truck driver. But you can contact your eye doctor and receive special contact lenses that may be able to correct this issue to pass the DOT physical exam.
- Cardiovascular Health – You will be checked for murmurs and extra sounds in your heart, enlarged heart, pacemaker and implantable defibrillator. If you don’ have any problems with your cardiovascular health, you will pass your DOT physical exam.
- Blood Pressure – Your pulse rate and blood pressure will be taken; abnormally high readings may result in a shorter medical certification. A truck driver with blood pressure less than 140/90 may be medically certified to drive for a two-year period.
- Urinalysis – Your urine sample will be tested for specific gravity/dehydration, proteins, glucose levels which might indicate hidden health problems.
- Physical Endurance – Physical Endurance will be checked by the medical examiners considering any surgeries or limits to range of motion that may affect your ability to perform duties as a truck driver: to sit and steer for long periods of time, to climb in and out of the cab, climb ladders, to couple and uncouple trailers.
- Medications – Any medications that affect your ability to drive a CMV could disqualify you from obtaining a medical card. Check with your doctor if you have questions about your medications or medical conditions.
- Medical History – A truck driver will be required to disclose their complete medical history, including past and recent surgeries, ongoing medical conditions, any history of substance abuse and medications they’re currently taking.
Such parts of the body will be checked at the Dot Physical: Eyes, Ears, Mouth and Throat, Heart, Lungs and Chest, Abdomen and Organs, Vascular (blood movement) System, Urinary System, Extremities/Limbs, Spine/Skeletal, the brain and the nervous system.
At the conclusion of your physical, you can have one of these results:
- You may be allowed to drive for two years, which means you do not have any health conditions that can impact your driving.
- You may be approved to drive but you are required to follow up with periodic monitoring.
- The medical examiner may indicate that your health doesn’t meet standards. You can seek a second opinion by following FMCSA protocol in this case.
What Additional Paperwork You Need for the DOT Physical
Specific paperwork can help your medical examiner more quickly assess whether or not you meet DOT physical requirements. Specific paperwork which you can bring to you doctor:
- Comprehensive medical records from your primary care doctor.
- The name and contact information for the doctor who treats you for each condition. Additional paperwork can be sleep test results or stress test results.
- A complete medication list. The list should include such information about medication you take – its dosage, its strength, and the prescribing doctor.
Passing the DOT Physical Exam
All DOT physical exams are conducted by medical examiners approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The examiner makes sure that drivers are healthy enough to drive, which protects their health and the safety of others on the road.
Passing the physical, the results will be sent by the medical directly to the licensing agency in your state. A DOT physical exam for truck drivers is valid for up to 24 months but the medical examiner can determine a specific condition, like high blood pressure, and you will need to be monitored more frequently. You’ll receive a medical card that allows you to drive CMVs for that period of time.
DOT Physical Exam at NSTS
At NSTS, you’ll take the DOT physical exam and drug screening as part of our program to get you on the road faster.
If you have any questions about the DOT physical exam, contact us, we’ll be happy to tell you about the process.