If you’re a professional truck or bus driver, you may have been told that you need a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical. Mandated by federal law, this checkup clears you for driving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and helps ensure that you and fellow CMV drivers can handle the long hours, exhausting schedules, and stress of operating commercial vehicles.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets regulations for safe operation of commercial vehicles in the country. Each state also has specific regulations. The test assesses your general health, as well as mental and emotional fitness for the demands of professional driving.
The FMCSA requires all commercial drivers to carry a certificate of good health, which you’ll receive upon passing your DOT Medical Examination. Only medical professionals who are listed on the FMCSA National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners can issue your certificate. Those listed on the registry have had the proper training in FMCSA regulations to determine if you’re healthy enough to work safely and ensure that you’re not wrongly disqualified.
Yes if you fall into one of these categories:
Before the appointment, you’ll fill out the previously mentioned Medical Examination Report form. Use the form to indicate any prior or current health conditions. These may include:
Be honest in this form. If you’re not, you could have your certificate revoked.
Your doctor will go over this form and ask additional questions. He or she will check your lung function, heart, digestive track, and coordination. You’ll also take some basic tests including:
The visit takes about 45 minutes.
Most medical certificates are good for two years. However, if you have low blood pressure or high blood pressure, or any other condition that may inhibit your ability to drive, you may receive a 1-year certificate. And if you have very high blood pressure or other treatable conditions, you may receive a 3-month certificate. After 3 months, if you show improvement in that condition, you’ll be eligible to get a 1 or 2-year certificate.
Unfortunately, sometimes drivers begin suffering from a condition (after receiving their certificate) that makes it unsafe to carry out their responsibilities on the job. If this is the case, you must stop driving, have the condition treated, and then take your DOT physical again to ensure your safety as well as that of fellow drivers.
If you fail the exam, this does not necessarily prohibit you from becoming a driver. Talk with your doctor about your disqualifying condition. If you can improve it with treatment, discuss a plan to address it and try again.
The FMCSA has driver exemption programs for some people with diabetes, impaired vision or hearing, or other disabilities. Your doctor can help you decide if you’re eligible for those programs.
According to the latest statistics from the FMCSA, large truck and bus fatalities have decreased 17% since 2003. Injury crashes have also dropped 18% and property-damage-only incidents have declined 27%. The industry’s focus on safety has been paying off, and your DOT physical plays an important role in CMV safety. At Comprehensive Primary Care, we make this exam easy and convenient for you. Contact us with any questions or to set up your appointment.