There are a few processes to take before you may work in the state of New York if you’re starting a career in transportation. Truck drivers and other state-employed transportation authorities must pass a physical exam to get (and maintain) a commercial driver’s license from the Department of Transportation.
A DOT Physical Exam is a thorough examination that assesses your health. This is required in order to protect your life and the lives of other drivers on the road. You must fulfill the DOT requirements in order to be considered for employment. Learn more about DOT physicals before you get one.
Who Needs A DOT Physical?
Professional drivers must undergo a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical to confirm that they are healthy and capable of operating commercial vehicles. This safeguards both your and others’ safety on the road.
A DOT physical is necessary when a driver is operating a commercial motor vehicle over multiple states (commonly known as “interstate driving”). According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the following are some of the things to consider for you to know if you need a DOT Physical:
- The gross vehicle weight rating of your vehicle is 10,000 lbs or more
- Your vehicle transports 9-15 passengers and is used for commercial purposes
- Your vehicle is built or utilized to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver), regardless of whether it is for hire or not.
- Transports hazardous items in quantities that necessitate placarding in accordance with hazardous materials laws.
How about those drivers who travel inside a single state? They may be required to get a DOT physical as well, depending on their state’s requirements. So, it is always best to check on your local site if it is necessary.
Where To Get DOT Physical?
Only an FMCSA-certified medical professional may perform DOT physicals. Providers that have completed particular FMCSA training and are listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners fall into this category (NRCME). You may search the NRCME website for a DOT-certified provider near you. You may also visit a Statcare urgent care clinic near you for smoother and faster transactions.
When Should I Renew My CDL Physical?
A DOT medical card can be valid for up to 24 months, depending on the results of the physical. If the driver has pre-existing conditions that require continuous medical care, they can be certified but only for a shorter period of time (less than 24 months). High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or any sleep condition like sleep apnea are common reasons for a certification lasting fewer than 24 months.
What Happens During a DOT Physical Examination?
A DOT and CDL medical is a routine procedure. During a DOT physical, a certified medical examiner will assess your vital signs, review your medical health history, and do a mandatory hands-on physical examination. The exam may cover some or all of the following depending on your medical history, age, and other factors:
- Eyes (cornea, eye movements, presence of cataracts, etc.)
- Ears (scarring or damage to eardrums etc.)
- Neck (limited movements, any scars, thyroid swelling)
- Mouth and throat (to look for airway problems and breathing)
- Heart (any extra sounds or presence of a pacemaker, etc.)
- Lungs and chest (any abnormal breathing sounds, etc.)
- Abdomen (enlarged liver, presence of hernias, etc.)
- Vascular (abnormal pulse or vein abnormalities etc.)
- Extremities (limb injuries, missing fingers or toes, surgical scars, etc.)
- Spine (surgical scars, limited movement, etc.)
- Neurological (balance, coordination, gait, issues with muscle strength or spinal reflexes)
These are basic physical exams meant to screen for issues that may disrupt or prevent you from driving safely.
Before a DOT physical, you must stay hydrated, avoid caffeine, and take your regular meds as directed to prepare for your exam. Bring your driver’s license, as well as prescription glasses or hearing aids you use.
This is a pass-or-fail exam with no refunds.
How much is a DOT physical at urgent care?
All DOT physicals and medical exams follow the same processes and insurance companies do not cover them. Medical treatment should not be prohibitively expensive. Make sure to ask nearby DOT exam locations, like clinics or urgent cares, about their DOT exam costs before booking one.
Regardless of where you get your DOT physical exam, one thing is for sure — your life, and the lives of everyone around you depends on it.