Does the DOT Require Physicals?

If you're a commercial driver, understanding DOT physicals is vital. These mandatory exams ensure your fitness to operate large vehicles safely. Who needs one? Drivers handling heavy loads, transporting passengers, or hazardous materials. The DOT physical, conducted by certified medical examiners, includes various medical tests. To pass, preparation is key – bring your documents and medications list. Common reasons for failing include uncontrolled blood sugar and conditions hindering safe vehicle operation. But don't worry, your examiner will help you manage any issues. Understanding the DOT physical process is essential for all commercial drivers. Learn more about these crucial exams.
over the road trucks with mountains in background

The Department of Transportation (DOT) creates regulations and policies to keep commercial drivers safe on the road. One of those regulations ensures that drivers are physically fit enough to operate large motor vehicles. The DOT requires physical examinations for several types of drivers and vehicle operators. Keep reading to learn more about who needs to get a DOT physical!

What is a DOT Exam?

A DOT physical is a medical examination you must undergo before driving commercial vehicles for a living. The exam ensures that drivers are physically fit enough to meet the job’s demands and can safely operate large vehicles or vehicles with passengers without putting themselves or anyone else at risk.

Who Needs a DOT Physical?

The DOT requires physicals for many types of drivers. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the following types of drivers are required to get physical examinations regularly:

  • Drivers that operate a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight rating (GCWR) or gross vehicle weight (GVW) or gross combination weight (GCW) of 4,536 kilograms (10,001 pounds) or more in interstate commerce.
  • Drivers that operate a motor vehicle used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, in interstate commerce.
  • Drivers that operate a motor vehicle designed or used to transport between nine and 15 passengers, for direct compensation, beyond 75 air miles from your regular work-reporting location, in interstate commerce.
  • Drivers that transport hazardous materials in quantities require placards in interstate commerce.

Additionally, any drivers with the following licenses that do not fall into the above categories are also required to get regular physical examinations:

  • Commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • Hoisting license
  • Hydraulic license
  • School and commercial bus drivers
  • Limousine drivers
  • Box truck drivers
  • Tow truck drivers
  • Landscapers license

What does a DOT Physical Involve?

A DOT physical examination must be conducted by a certified medical examiner listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration registry. The examiner will perform a variety of medical examinations. The typical DOT physical includes a physical exam, blood pressure and pulse test, visual acuity test, hearing test, and urinalysis. The medical examiner may perform other tests due to any other health issues or concerns you have. The examiner will also need to review a list of past or recent illnesses along with recent and current medications. 

There are several ways you can prepare for your DOT physical. Bring your completed DOT Medical Examination Form and your driver’s license and pocket certificate to your visit. Additionally, be sure to bring a list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take and a list of your regular doctors and their phone numbers. If you have diabetes, bring a list of medications and the name of your prescribing doctor. Additionally, have copies of your blood sugar results or hemoglobin A1C results from the past three months on hand. If you have a heart condition, like a recent heart attack or cardiovascular disease, bring a copy of your last stress test or release from your cardiologist.

Passing or Failing Your DOT Exams

The most common reasons for failing a DOT physical are high blood sugar and uncontrolled sugar in your urine. Luckily, both conditions can be controlled and managed. Another common reason for failing a DOT exam is having any condition that would cause a loss of ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely, such as loss or impairment of limbs, poor vision that cannot be corrected, and epilepsy. If you fail your DOT physical exam, do not panic!

Your medical examiner will create a plan with you to manage and control the issue. Additionally, he or she may issue you a three-month medical certificate that allows you to continue working but also requires you to return for a follow-up physical exam. If you pass the exam, the medical examiner issues a DOT medical certificate with a validity of two years. However, suppose you have a medical condition that needs to be monitored, like arthritis. In that case, the medical examiner may issue a certificate with a shorter validity period in order to monitor the condition.

Navigating the requirements for DOT physicals can be confusing and difficult. Luckily, Work Health Solutions is here to help you understand the DOT regulations and conduct DOT physicals!

How Can We Help?

Work Health Solutions offers comprehensive healthcare solutions for your medical and occupational health needs. Our qualified team treats patients and employers alike and always provides top-quality service. Our quality service is backed by years of experience working with academic and research institutions, corporate healthcare, Fortune 25 companies, small governments, and local businesses. Reach out today with any questions about how we can assist you!

Work Health Solutions

Work Health Solutions

About Us

Work Health Solutions is dedicated to preserving a safe work environment and improving existing programs and care for local, regional and national organizations.

Share This Post

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Recent Posts

Speak with an Occupational Health Specialist

If you have questions about Work Health Solution's occupational health services or if you need to purchase bulk medical supplies, such as COVID-19 testing kits, please contact us.

Get in Touch

Dr. Michael Tenison

A series of notable accomplishments distinguish Dr. Michael Tenison’s career in medical operations and healthcare management:

  • Successfully led medical operations at a national healthcare provider, focusing on optimizing healthcare delivery and patient outcomes.
  • Oversaw the regional medical practices in key markets like Oregon and Northern California, ensuring consistent, quality medical care and service delivery.
  • Demonstrated exceptional leadership in building and mentoring a large medical provider team, enhancing team performance and patient care standards.
  • Implemented strategic company policies and protocols, significantly improving center efficiency, clinical quality, and patient experiences.
  • Played a pivotal role in financial planning and identifying growth opportunities for healthcare services, contributing to the organization’s overall success.
  • Served as a primary point of contact for regional employer clients and insurance companies, fostering strong relationships and effective communication.
  • Maintained high medical care and case management standards through diligent supervision, chart audits, and performance metric analysis.

Dr. Matt Feeley

Dr. Matt Feeley is a renowned figure in military aviation medicine, with a robust background in occupational and environmental medicine from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

  • Former Naval Flight Surgeon, exemplifying his expertise in aerospace medicine and commitment to military health.
  • Served with distinction at NSA Bahrain and HSM-37, earning the COMPACFLT Flight Surgeon of the Year award for exceptional medical service.
  • Supported U.S. Marines VMFA-323 aboard the USS Nimitz, MACG-38, and VMU-3, demonstrating versatility and leadership in diverse medical environments.
  • Broad interests and significant contributions in global health, corporate medicine, and aerospace medicine, highlighting his multidisciplinary approach.
  • Proven track record as a dynamic leader, well-equipped to face the challenges in a fractional medical directorship role with innovative solutions.

Dr. Glen Cheng

A physician-attorney with a dedication to healthcare innovation, informatics, and digital health.

  • Currently spearheads employee health protection and promotion within the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System.
  • Trained in residency at Harvard, achieving board certification as a physician; also a licensed patent attorney with experience as FDA regulatory counsel.
  • Co-founded Acceleromics, a consulting firm providing clinical and regulatory guidance to digital health startups.

Erin Davis

 Chief Clinical Officer at Work Health Solutions, certified in Adult-Gerontology (AGNP-C) and Athletic Training (ATC).

  • Oversees clinical operations and ensures high clinical standards across the company’s national field staff.
  • Former Manager of Clinic Operations and Occupational Health Nurse Practitioner at Stanford University Occupational Health Center (SUOHC).
  • Specialized in treating occupational injuries and illnesses, and provided medical surveillance and travel medicine consults at Stanford and SLAC National Accelerator Lab.
  • Dedicated to sports and occupational injury treatment and prevention.
  • Assistant Clinical Faculty at UCSF, mentoring students in clinical rotations within the Adult Gerontology and Occupational and Environmental Health Program.
  • Holds leadership roles as Treasurer and President Elect of the California El Camino Real Association of Occupational Health Nurses (CECRAOHN), affiliated with the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN).

Dr. Robert Goldsmith

Expert in benefits design and onsite innovation with specialization in the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Previous role as Executive Director for Employee Health at Novartis Services, Inc., leading health services and clinical support.
  • Instrumental in creating an integrated healthcare system at Novartis.
  • Former private practice in internal medicine in Stamford, Connecticut, and Medical Director consultant for GTE Corporation.
  • Transitioned to GE as a Global Medical Director in 2000.
  • Holds a medical degree from Albert Einstein College, an MPH from the University of Connecticut, and completed training at Greenwich Hospital and Yale-New Haven Medical Center.
  • Assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the Vagelos School of Medicine, Columbia University.
  • Serves as a team physician for high school athletes in Stamford.
  • Published works on occupational health risks, primary prevention, and exercise-induced asthma.