What Is A DOT Physical Exam?

    Commercial Driver attempting DOT Physical exam
    What Is A DOT Physical Exam? 1000 665 Sandeep Jain, MD

    In order to drive a commercial truck, a DOT physical exam is needed. Learn what to expect and find DOT medical examiner locations.

    Driving a semi truck can be a physically challenging job. Consequently, the Department of Transportation requires a (DOT) physical examination for anyone who operates a commercial truck in the United States. In order to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you must pass this exam. It ensures that you are physically able to operate a large truck. Learn more about the DOT exam and find DOT medical examiner locations.

    The DOT Physical Exam

    A qualified examiner must perform the DOT physical exam. The examiner will ask questions about your medical history, including medications that you take. They will also:

    • Check your vision. Truck drivers must have 20/40 vision in each eye.
    • Perform a blood pressure test. Blood pressure must be at or below 140/90 with or without medication to be a truck driver for a 2-year certification.
    • Do a hearing test. This test ensures that your hearing is okay.
    • Check your movement. The DOT medical examiner will check for things that could impair your movement, such as spinal deformities.
    • Listen to your lungs. The doctor will assess your lung function during the physical. If you have asthma or another respiratory condition, you may need a separate pulmonary function test.
    • Perform a neurological exam. An important part of the DOT physical exam is the neurological portion. During this part of the test, the examiner will check your reflexes and coordination. The purpose is to look for neurological problems that could affect your ability to operate a large vehicle. If you have epilepsy or another seizure disorder, you will be disqualified from getting a DOT medical examination.

    Is A Urine Test Required?

    During the DOT physical exam, you will also give a urine sample for a urine test.  This test helps look for underlying issues that could affect your ability to drive a commercial vehicle, for example, kidney disease or diabetes.  To clarify, your urine will not be tested for recreational drugs. The urine test only tests for underlying diseases.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About DOT Exams

    • What should I bring to the appointment? When you come in for your exam, you will need to have a list of your current doctors and medications. Have your medical history handy too. If you wear a hearing aid or prescription glasses or contacts, then wear those to the exam.
    • If I don’t have a medical insurance plan, can I still get a DOT physical? Yes, you do not need medical insurance to get a DOT physical.
    • What things do I need to disclose during a DOT exam? Tell the doctor about all of your medical conditions and the medications that you take. Not disclosing medical conditions during the exam can result in you not getting a DOT medical card. Additionally, you might have to pay fines.
    • What if I’m on blood pressure medication? Taking blood pressure medications will reduce your DOT medical certificate to one year. Your blood pressure must be controlled and be below 140/90 mm Hg at the time of your DOT exam. Also, it is very helpful to have a note from your primary care physician stating that you are being treated for hypertension and that the medication is effective.
    • Do I need glasses with 20/25 vision for a DOT Physical? No, you do not require glasses with 20/25 vision in both eyes for a DOT physical.
    • Can I wear contact lenses to do the vision test? Yes, you are permitted to wear contact lenses for the DOT exam.
    • Can I get a DOT medical card if I use a hearing aid? Yes, the hearing test can be done with hearing aids.
    • Can I get a DOT medical card if I have a defibrillator? A defibrillator is a disqualifier for interstate driving.
    • Are DOT physicals and CDL physicals the same? Yes, they are the same.

    How Often Do I Need A DOT Physical Exam?

    Most DOT medical cards are good for two years. However, if you have certain medical conditions, like high blood pressure, you may have to get a DOT physical exam more often.

    What Is The Cost Of A DOT Physical Exam?

    Are you wondering what the cost is to have a DOT physical? At $85, our DOT physical exams are very affordable. This cost includes both your urine test and vision check.

    How Do I Schedule A DOT Physical Exam?

    We have DOT medical examiner locations in Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. Call (917) 310-3371 to schedule an appointment. With multiple medical exam locations available, you can get your DOT physical any day of the week. You can also schedule an appointment online using this convenient form. Our $85 DOT exams include the vision screening and urine test.

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