For employees operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires a specialized physical exam at least every other year. Mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a DOT physical adheres to strict guidelines to ensure that drivers with a commercial driver's license (CDL), as well as other safety-sensitive employees, are in good health and physically capable to perform their job duties.
According to the FMCSA, “A Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination must be conducted by a licensed ‘medical examiner’ listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry. The term includes, but is not limited to, doctor of medicine (MD), doctor of osteopathy (DO), physician assistants (PA), advanced practice nurses (APN), and doctor of chiropractic (DC).”
Since a DOT Physical covers a wide range of medical tests and examinations, it is important to come prepared with prescriptions, doctors notes, etc., to ensure that the exam runs smoothly and is completed in a timely manner. Drivers with certain medical issues need to bring the following items:
Once the medical examiner concludes that the employee is physically qualified to perform his/her safety-sensitive job, and/or drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), the examiner will make a copy of the results for the employee and complete a medical examiner’s certificate. A DOT physical exam will remain valid for up to 24 months. For employees with a medical condition which may require additional monitoring, such as high blood pressure, the medical examiner may also issue a medical examiner's certificate for less than 24 months.
Drivers must have at least 20/40 acuity in each eye with or without correction and must also have at least 70 degrees peripheral vision.
Drivers must be able to perceive a forced whisper in the better ear at no less than five feet with or without the use of a hearing aid, or if tested audiometrically, not have a hearing loss of more than 40 dB in the better ear at 3 tested frequencies.
3. Blood pressure/pulse rate
The patients’ blood pressure will be taken to look for signs of an irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, or other medical conditions.
The DOT requires a urinalysis which will look for indications of any underlying medical conditions.
5. Physical Examination
The physical exam will cover a variety of categories including: