What is a DOT Physical?
Description: DOT Physical – What is a DOT Physical? How does one pass the DOT Physical? This page has answers to common questions from our commercial drivers over the last decade. Whether this is your first time getting a DOT Physical or this is a visit to renew your DOT Physical, find out how you can make the process run smoothly.
A DOT physical exam is a medical fitness for duty evaluation to ensure that the commercial driver is healthy and able to perform the duties of a commercial truck driver.
If you operate a vehicle over public roadways with an intent for interstate commerce or have a business that employs drivers who operate medium and heavy-duty trucks and vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) over 10,000 pounds then DOT requirements apply and a valid DOT Physical is required of all such commercial drivers.
No. Insurance does not cover administrative or employment related health visits. Your employer may pay for a DOT Physical. If your doctor bills it as a routine physical, they are also violating the law. Health care fraud is a federal offense. Call your insurance before you let anyone bill an insurance company for a DOT Physical.
A DOT physical is done by a certified medical examiner listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry for Certified Medical Examiners. The medical examiner does not only have to a be a doctor. Apart from Doctors of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) they can also be Physician Assistants (PA), Advanced Practice Nurses (APN), and Doctors of Chiropractic (DC).
The DOT Physical performed can have a maximum validity of two years in healthy drivers. Drivers with some medical issues will be given a DOT Medical Certificate of 1 year, 6 months or sometimes even 3 months or less depending on the medical condition, its severity and the federal guidelines for the medical condition.
The DOT Physical is usually a pass or a fail test. All results have to be reported to the DOT Registry.
As long as his name is listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry for Certified Medical Examiners.
Your driver’s license
Your current CDL Medical card if you have one.
If you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, wear them to the DOT Physical for the vision test
Drink water and come so you can give a urine sample else you may have to wait until you are able to provide a urine sample.
Most healthy drivers pass their DOT Physical at the first visit. So, if you are young and have no medical conditions, not taking any medicines and not using recreational drugs; chances are that you will pass the DOT Physical without any issues.
If however, a medical condition is discovered during your DOT Physical, then that needs to be addressed if it is in the federal guidelines.
And if you are being treated for one or more medical conditions then these two tips will be very helpful to you.
Tip #1: First, give yourself more time. Don’t just wait till the last month that your certification is going to expire in.
Tip #2: Secondly, it is good to understand how the DOT Physical process works at the Medical Examiners end. As per the FMCSA, the DOT Examiner has to review specific evidence for the medical condition that you might have. The FMCSA has defined parameters for each medical condition. Medical Examiner may not bypass these requirements else they risk losing their certification and livelihood by the NRCME. And since the Medical Examiner is seeing you for the first time, he or she has no way of knowing anything about your illness except from all the documentation you bring. They are not allowed to just take your word for it. They are required to gather and review evidence and record it in their files. It helps if you carry your prescription bottles and have the phone numbers for your specialists at hand in case the examiner needs to speak to the specialist. The more you go prepared, the more is the chance that you can wrap this up in one visit. So, if you have a medical condition, preparing yourself with the necessary documentation for the Medical Examiner to review at the time of your DOT Physical visit will assist your DOT Physical completion.
If you have medical issues, additional tests and paperwork will be needed for the medical examiner to understand that your condition is stable and well controlled so that they can certify you at that visit. The document varies by medical condition. In order to have the DOT Physical run as smoothly as possible, bring one or more of the following documents:
- If you use a hearing aid, wear it to the DOT Physical. Also, bring a recent audiologist report for the hearing aid.
- If you take medicines, bring the prescription bottles or the list of medicines with you.
- If you see doctors or specialist, bring the doctors’ names and addresses. Also, bring a summary of your medical care and the results of any tests you have had at their offices.
- If you have Diabetes, bring your recent Hemoglobin A1C (HgbAIC) result and your blood sugar records.
- If you have heart-related issues, bring a recent stress test and echo result along with a summary letter from your cardiologist/
- If you have sleep apnea, bring your CPAP machine logs and a summary letter from your sleep specialist.