Taking Your DOT Physical Exam? Here’s What You Can Expect
In addition to completing driver training and earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL), you will also be required to pass a Department of Training (DOT) physical exam before becoming a professional truck driver.
The DOT performs this exam to make sure you meet the basic physical and mental health standards it takes to handle this job. Any recent or ongoing medical conditions or surgeries will be reviewed along with several other tests, as listed below. When you pass, you will be issued an official medical card. Like your CDL, it will need to be renewed from time to time.
America Truck Driving School has put together some of the standardized tests you can expect as part of your DOT physical exam:
You will need to pass a vision test with a distant acuity of at least 20/40. They will test each eye individually and both eyes together. Corrective lenses are allowed for this portion of the test.
Color Blindness Test
If you are at all color blind, you will be required to take a color distinction test. This is primarily to test whether you are able to distinguish between red, green and amber colors used in standard traffic lights and other road signals. If you know you struggle with any kind of color blindness, consult with your personal doctor before the DOT exam about correcting this issue with special contact lenses that could improve your color distinction.
In order to pass the hearing test, you must be able to hear a forced whisper from five feet away in at least one ear. The use of a hearing aid is allowed as long as one ear can pass the whisper test.
Blood Pressure Test
To pass this test, your blood pressure (BP) needs to be less than 140/90 to be medically certified as a commercial driver for a two-year period. Before you take your blood pressure test, do your best to cut back on smoking, energy drinks and caffeine as they can lead to spikes in blood pressure.
Make sure any cardiovascular issues are resolved before you take any DOT physical exams. If you have had heart issues, bypass surgery or any other significant cardiovascular problems, be sure to obtain a note from your cardiologist before returning to work or receiving your medical card.
You will be required to submit a urine sample, which will be tested for glucose, blood, protein, drugs and specific gravity issues.
Medication and Existing Conditions
As a driver, you are expected to stay in control of your mental and physical state. Any existing health conditions or medications taken regularly will be taken into consideration by the DOT during your physical assessment. It’s a good idea to check with your doctor and review these issues before applying for your medical card.
Truck driving requires you to stay alert even while sitting for long periods of time. It also requires you to be able to climb in and out of the cab, couple and uncouple trailers, inspect the vehicle, handle the cargo and climb ladders. If you have had any surgeries or physical limitations, they will be taken into consideration by the DOT examiner.
If you do meet all the required physical and mental health standards for the DOT physical exam, you will receive a medical card that is issued for a two-year period. Depending on your situation, you may receive a card for a shorter time period, such as one year, six months, three months or even less.
At American Truck Driving School, our goal is to help you succeed in the world of truck driving. For more information about the DOT physical exam or the professional training programs with America Truck Driving School, contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get your career started!