DOT Physicals and Why They’re Important

tractor trailer on open road with open sky background

The department of transportation (DOT) physical examination is a requirement that helps ensure a person is medically qualified to capably and safely operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). To help protect the safety of the public, CMV drivers are held to a much higher physical, mental, and emotional standard than passenger car drivers.

The DOT ensures the protection of citizens by making sure that their physical is thorough and accurate. This makes the DOT physical an important appointment for CMV drivers. Here’s what you should know about DOT physicals and why they’re important.

What Is A DOT Physical?

Since the DOT physical exam determines the eligibility of a commercial driver to perform their job, it must be accurate and thorough. This means that there are several different aspects of the physical that must be done during the examination. Here are the common ones.

Vision Test

All CMV drivers must take a vision test for their DOT physical examination. According to the CDL regulations, CMV drivers must have “at least 70” peripheral vision and 20/40 acuity in each eye to ensure safety on the road while driving.” Although corrective lenses can be worn if required to help vision reach the necessary acuity.

Hearing Test

Aside from vision, the DOT physical examination evaluates the hearing of drivers. Hearing what’s happening around them is a crucial aspect of road safety for drivers. This is measured through different tones. To pass this part of the physical, a driver must be able to hear a “forced whisper” from a distance of no less than 5 ft.

Blood Pressure And Heart Rate

During a DOT physical, the physician will carefully monitor the blood pressure and heart rate of their patients. This catches any irregularities in their health that could potentially spell disaster on the road.

Urinalysis

While most people associate urinalysis with drug screening, that isn’t always the case with DOT physicals. Urine can hold a lot of information about what’s going on inside someone’s body. Physicians use urinalysis to read someone’s sugar and proteins to help determine if someone is diabetic, pre-diabetic, or experiencing any issues with their kidneys.

Physical Exam

During the physical part of the exam, your doctor will typically cover some basic categories such as:

  • Ears
  • Eyes
  • Mouth
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Chest
  • Spine
  • Neurological Abilities
  • Etc

It’s worth noting that regardless of where you get your DOT physical, the requirements are the same. This is due to the nature of CMV jobs. Since drivers will constantly be driving over state lines, their health must be consistent with requirements from all over.

How Can We Help?

Work Health Solutions offers comprehensive occupational healthcare solutions for your medical needs, including DOT Physicals. Our qualified team treats patients and employers alike and always provides top-quality service. We back our quality service with 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 you may have about how we can assist you!

Work Health Solutions

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

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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.
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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.
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  • 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).
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  • Assistant Clinical Faculty at UCSF, mentoring students in clinical rotations within the Adult Gerontology and Occupational and Environmental Health Program.
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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.
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  • Serves as a team physician for high school athletes in Stamford.
  • Published works on occupational health risks, primary prevention, and exercise-induced asthma.