The physical demands of driving a commercial vehicle are incredibly high. As a commercial driver, you make long hauls across the country carrying important cargo and you must deliver everything on time. Even if you’re strictly a local driver, the amount of physical labor you are asked to perform every day can be taxing on your body. A DOT physical exam is necessary to make sure that as a driver, you are healthy and can safely perform your job day in and day out.
Driving without a current DOT physical certification has major consequences, including job loss, fines, and even vehicle impoundment. We know that your time is valuable as a commercial driver, so we try to make the process of getting a DOT physical exam as seamless as possible. To ensure that you are as prepared as possible when you arrive for your DOT physical, we’ve created a checklist for you.
DOT Physical Exam Basics
A DOT physical exam is a required evaluation of any commercial driver’s health. Often, it is referred to as a “medical fitness for duty” test, which confirms that the driver is capable and healthy enough to complete the specific duties of commercial driving — one of the toughest jobs in America. Because of the difficulty of the job, it’s important to keep a close eye on a driver’s fitness. This ensures their safety as well as everyone else’s safety while on the road.
The standards of the DOT physical exam are determined by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a department of the United States Department of Transportation that regulates the trucking industry. To ensure the same standards are enforced across all states, each DOT physical exam must be conducted by a certified medical professional.
When you arrive to take your DOT physical, be prepared with your medical history and glasses if you wear them. All applicable forms will be provided by Statcare when you arrive for your appointment. It’s important to be transparent about your medical history when taking the DOT physical exam. Many commercial drivers worry that being overweight will automatically lead to a failed DOT physical, but that is not necessarily the case. The DOT physical is only designed to determine if you have any restrictive medical conditions. A healthy lifestyle is important, but not a requirement to pass the test. The same goes for STDs. They won’t prohibit you from passing a DOT physical exam as long as they don’t affect your ability to perform your driving duties.
Although maintaining a current DOT certification is very important, the actual DOT physical exam should not feel like a big deal. Statcare works to make sure that it is a quick and painless experience for you so that you can get back on the road as soon as possible.
The DOT Physical Exam
The DOT physical exam itself should not take more than 30 minutes to complete. Again, the main point is for the DOT medical examiner to assess your current health (both mental and physical) and decide if you can safely meet the needs of the job. Statcare DOT Medical examiners are looking at your current health as well as what your health might look like over the next year, while your DOT medical card is valid. They are also ensuring that nothing in your medical history has the potential to impact the way you perform your duties currently. It helps to remember that these doctors are not looking to fail you during your DOT physical, only to keep you safe while you’re on the road for long hours.
The physical exam includes a urine test to check the health of your kidneys. Typically, DOT medical examiners are looking for early signs of high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney infections. It is also possible that they will include a drug and alcohol component to the urine test. Again, it’s a quick test that you should not feel intimidated by.
Commercial Drivers will also need to complete a vision test for acuity and color vision. You are allowed to use your glasses for this test, so don’t forget to bring them with you on the day of your DOT physical exam. Your hearing will be tested as well as an EKG to test your heart, especially if you have a history of heart trouble.
The DOT medical examiner will be able to determine your level of fitness on the same day as your DOT physical exam. If you pass the required standards, you will leave your appointment with your DOT medical card that will remain valid for two years. After that, you’ll be required to stay up to date with your DOT physical schedule. Between tests, do what you can each year to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that nothing interferes with your DOT certification next time. If you have any questions about how you can attain health standards, feel free to ask your DOT medical examiner questions.
In the event that you do not pass your DOT physical exam, you have a few options. Some drivers find that the hearing section of their DOT physical is hard to pass. In that case, Statcare offers an audiometry screening test for free. It’s an added value of $60 that you won’t find many other places. The hope is that with the help of our DOT medical examiners, you will identify a solution and get back on the road as quickly as possible. In some cases, the DOT medical examiner will issue a short-term DOT medical card to give you time to fix the issue that caused the restriction during your DOT physical. The rules on these short-term DOT medical cards are strict, and if you do not take the time to address the issue, your DOT medical examiner can refuse to issue you a two-year DOT medical card.
If, for some reason, you fail to pass the DOT physical exam and you feel strongly that your DOT medical examiner is incorrect, you are allowed to get a second opinion. However, since 2016 the FMCSA reporting system with the National Registry has been flagging commercial driving license holders who seek multiple exams. The DOT physicals should be standardized, meaning if you fail at one location, you will likely hear the same answers at any other medical examiner. But if you feel a strong need for a second DOT physical exam and an additional medical opinion, we encourage you to do so.
When you receive your DOT medical card, you will also get a copy of the Medical Examination Report. We are required to keep a copy of both documents for three years, so if you lose them, you can always contact Statcare for a copy. After you collect your DOT certification, you’ll be on your way.
Choosing Statcare for Your DOT Physical Exam
While it is true that regulations dictate that all DOT medical examiners must follow the same standards, there is a superior level of service offered at Statcare. We know that your time is valuable and that the extra expense of a DOT physical exam is not something you look forward to. We do our best to make the entire experience as cost-effective and seamless as possible.
One of the many benefits of completing your DOT physical exam at Statcare is that we are open seven days a week including holidays. We also welcome walk-in appointments. That means if you find an opening in your schedule, you can stop by any Statcare location and get your DOT physical exam completed, even if it’s a Sunday afternoon. Our DOT medical examiners will be there, ready to help. Drivers also appreciate that our team submits their DOT medical cards to FMCSA and the NYS DMV during their visit. We know the last thing you want to do is waste time at the DMV, so we take care of it for you.
It’s also important to us that a DOT physical doesn’t hurt your wallet. Insurance won’t cover the DOT physical exam so we try to keep the costs as low as possible for you. You can get your DOT physical with an added hearing test all for $85. Compare that to the average cost at other locations and you’re saving at least $25 per DOT physical. Over time, those savings add up! And as a final courtesy, Statcare will call and remind you to renew your DOT medical card before it expires so that you don’t even have to think about it in the future. You can spend your time focusing on other important things and we’ll call you when it’s time to start scheduling your next DOT physical exam. You can visit any of our five locations in Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Long Island any day of the week and get our award-winning service.
Statcare doesn’t just serve commercial drivers, either. We have an urgent care that is open seven days a week, including holidays that can offer fast medical treatment when you need it most. And if you just can’t make it out of bed because of a major cold, we encourage you to try our Telemedicine where you can talk to a doctor using your laptop or smartphone. No interruptions, no wasted time in a waiting room. Just expert medical advice from the comfort of your own home. You can read more about our services here.