Do you drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)? If so, you may be required to have a DOT physical. A DOT physical, or Department of Transportation physical, is a medical exam that is required for people who drive CMVs. The exam is designed to ensure that drivers are physically and mentally fit to operate CMVs safely.
In this article, we will explore the professions and regulations that require DOT physical certification. We will also discuss who needs a DOT physical and what the exam entails.
Who Needs a DOT Physical?
The following people are required to have a DOT physical:
- Drivers of CMVs that have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,001 pounds or more
- Drivers of CMVs that are transporting hazardous materials
- Drivers of CMVs that are carrying more than 15 passengers
- Drivers of CMVs who are paid to drive
The DOT physical is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA sets the standards for who needs a DOT physical and what the exam must include.
The DOT physical includes a medical history, physical examination, vision test, hearing test, and drug screening.
- The medical history will ask about the driver’s current health conditions and any past medical problems.
- The physical examination will check the driver’s vital signs, heart, lungs, eyes, ears, and other body systems.
- The vision and hearing tests will ensure that the driver can see and hear well enough to safely operate a CMV.
- The drug screening will check for the use of illegal drugs and controlled substances.
Passing the DOT Physical
To pass the DOT physical, drivers must meet all the FMCSA’s standards. These standards include:
- Having a valid driver’s license
- Being at least 21 years old
- Having a clean drug screening
- Meeting the vision and hearing requirements
- Having a blood pressure that is at or below 140/90 mmHg
- Not having any disqualifying medical conditions
The vision and hearing requirements are as follows. Drivers must:
- Have a minimum of 20/40 vision in each eye, with or without corrective lenses.
- Have a minimum of 70 degrees of peripheral vision in each eye.
- Be able to hear a forced whisper at five feet away, with or without hearing aids.
Disqualifying medical conditions include:
- Heart disease
- Mental illness
- Substance abuse
- Sleep apnea
If a driver does not meet all the FMCSA’s standards, they will not be able to pass the DOT physical. However, there are some exceptions to the disqualifying medical conditions. For example, drivers with diabetes may be able to pass the physical if their blood sugar levels are well-controlled.
If you are unsure whether you will be able to pass the DOT physical, you should talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you understand the requirements and can get you the necessary medical clearance.
Tips to Pass the DOT Physical
Here are some tips for passing the DOT physical:
- Get a physical exam from your doctor at least two weeks before your DOT physical. This will give your doctor time to address any health concerns that could affect your ability to pass the DOT physical.
- Make sure you are well-rested and hydrated on the day of your physical.
- Eat a healthy breakfast before your physical.
- Bring your driver’s license and any other documentation that your doctor may need.
- Be honest with your doctor about your health history.
If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to passing your DOT physical. Here are some additional things to keep in mind when preparing for the test:
- The exam may take a few hours, so be prepared to spend some time at the doctor’s office.
- You may be asked to provide a urine sample for drug testing.
- You may also be asked to answer questions about your medical history and driving habits.
There are a few exceptions to the DOT physical requirement. For example, drivers who are under the age of 21 are not required to have a DOT physical. However, they must have a medical examination that meets the FMCSA’s standards.
Renewing the DOT Physical
The DOT physical is valid for two years. Drivers must have a new physical every two years, even if they have not had any changes in their health.
The Importance of the DOT Physical
The DOT physical is an important safety measure that helps protect the public from accidents involving CMVs. By ensuring that drivers are physically and mentally fit to operate CMVs, the DOT physical helps reduce the risk of crashes.
DOT Physical Near You in Grand Junction, CO
If you are a driver who is required to have a DOT physical, it is important to understand the requirements and to schedule your exam well in advance of your deadline. By understanding the DOT physical and complying with the requirements, you can help ensure the safety of yourself, your passengers, and the public.
Do you need a DOT physical near you in Grand Junction? You can rely on the WorkPartners Occupational Health specialists. As the best occupational health clinic near you, we will ensure you receive the highest quality service. You may reach out to us today at (970) 241-5585. You can also use our online request form to book a visit.
We look forward to serving you!