What is a DOT Physical?
A DOT (Department of Transportation) physical is a regular physical performed by a physician to ensure the health of an employee when it comes to operating a vehicle. This is a common exam for CDL drivers or any employee with a job deemed as “safety sensitive by the Department of Transportation.
This may seem confusing and/or daunting right now, so we will simplify the process for you and get you back on the road.
Why is a DOT physical so important?
In order to maintain compliance and continue working for your company you will need a DOT physical. Why? Because the Department of Transportation has deemed your job as “safety-sensitive,” which means your safety and the safety of the public is at risk. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure CDL drivers are safe on the road.
What do I bring?
There is paperwork that you should fill out prior to your appointment including a health history questionnaire and other paperwork that includes your personal information. If you are a driver with diabetes, you will need to bring your most recent A1C hemoglobin results as well as your blood sugar logs.
If you are a driver with a heart condition, you will need to bring a letter from your cardiologist that details medical history, current meds, and the cardiologist must sign off that you are safe to work.
If you are a driver with hearing or vision problems you need to bring your hearing aids and/or glasses. Please also write down a complete list of medication you are taking along with the doses and the name/address of the doctor who prescribed them.
Please download, complete, and bring in the following forms for your DOT Physical Exam:
What should I expect during my DOT physical?
Your DOT physical will cover many health aspects, so be prepared for a pretty extensive examination. We conduct these physicals on a daily basis, so it is nothing you should be worried about. During your physical, you should expect:
- Vision test: Drivers are required to have a 20/40 acuity in each eye and at least 70” peripheral vision in the horizontal meridian. This is measured in each eye.
- Hearing test: The drivers better ear must only have a hearing loss of 40dB or less. At a 5 foot distance or less, a driver should be able to hear a forced whisper with or without the use of a hearing aid.
- Blood pressure and heart rate: Your doctor will check your blood pressure and address it if it’s high, and he/she will listen to your heart for irregular beats.
- Urinalysis: This is standard and required, and it will check for medical conditions.
Your physical examination will include your doctor checking your physical appearance for any abnormalities that can hinder your ability to safely drive. He/she will check your eyes, ears, throat, and mouth as well as feel your lymph nodes. Your doctor will listen to your heart, lungs, and abdomen, test your reflexes, check your abdomen for enlarged organs, and check your extremities for limb impairment.
Your DOT exam will also include checking your genitourinary and your spine for any abnormalities, and assess you for any neurological issues such as impaired speech and coordination.
So, now what?
Now that you know the importance of a DOT physical, what to bring, and what to expect, it’s time to call and make an appointment if you haven’t already.
The sooner you get your physical exam by one of our FMCSA licensed medical practitioners, the sooner you will be on the road.