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DOT Physical Exam: What You Need to Know

Professional bus or truck drivers who want to get a commercial driving license should pass a DOT physical exam. The DOT (Department of Transportation) physical examination is required to help ensure that a professional driver is medically qualified to safely operate a CMV (Commercial Motor Vehicle). To ensure public safety, CMV drivers are required to have higher physical, emotional, and mental standards than passenger car drivers.

Read on to learn more about the DOT physical exam.

What Is a DOT Physical?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets regulations for those who apply for a commercial driver’s license. Each state also has specific regulations concerning the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles in the country. The FMCSA requires all commercial drivers to pass a DOT physical exam to obtain a commercial driving license.

The DOT physical exam will assess your general health as well as emotional and mental fitness to determine whether you can fulfill the demands of professional driving. Medical professionals who are listed on the FMCSA National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners can conduct a DOT physical examination and issue the certificate. They are trained in FMCSA regulations to determine whether you are healthy enough to safely drive the commercial vehicle and make sure that you are not wrongly disqualified.

What a DOT Physical Exam Covers

1. Hearing

The DOT physical requires that drivers should be able to hear a forced whisper within a distance of five feet or less with or without a hearing aid. This standard is equivalent to an average hearing loss in the ear of less than 40 dB.

2. Urinalysis

It is required to determine whether you have diabetes or have any problem in your kidney, including an infection.

3. Vision

Drivers are required to have 20/40 sharp-sightedness in each eye with or without the corrective lenses and at least 70” peripheral in the horizontal meridian, measured in each eye.

4. Blood Pressure or Pulse Rate

The physician will examine the driver’s blood pressure to check for high blood pressure or other related conditions and pulse rate for any irregularities.

5. Physical Examination

The DOT physical examination will cover these:

  • Eyes (glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration)
  • Abdomen and Viscera (enlarged liver, muscle weakness, and viscera)
  • General appearance
  • Genito-urinary (hernias)
  • Ears (perforated eardrums and scarring of the tympanic membrane)
  • Vascular (varicose veins, abnormal pulse, and carotid)
  • Mouth and throat (difficulty breathing or swallowing)
  • Extremities (limb impaired)
  • Heart (pacemaker, murmurs, and extra sounds)
  • Neurological (coordination or speech pattern, asymmetric deep tendon reflexes, impaired equilibrium, and ataxia)
  • Lungs and chest, not including breast examination (cyanosis, abnormal breathing, and impaired respiratory functions)
  • Spine other musculoskeletal (tenderness, previous surgery, and limitation of motion)

How Often Do I Need to Get a DOT Physical?

Commercial drivers are required to get a DOT physical examination every 2 years to make sure that they are healthy and can safely operate a commercial vehicle. However, drivers with certain health conditions like:

  • Stage 1 hypertension – require getting a DOT physical exam every year.
  • Stage 2 hypertension – require getting a DOT physical exam every three months as long as the condition is under control.

Where Can I Get a DOT Physical?

MI Express Care offers DOT physical exams at our Canton, Michigan office. Our lead doctor and medical director, Dr. Umayr Azimi, is a board-certified physician who can provide DOT physical exams. Make sure to bring your driver’s license and previous certificate if you have it.

Contact us today or schedule an appointment with us if you are looking for a physician who provides DOT physical near you.

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