Trucker’s Guide To The DOT Physical
According to federal regulations, all truck drivers engaged in interstate commerce and who operate commercial vehicles with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds must obtain a medical examiner’s certificate every two years. Every trucker should know the requirements for passing the medical exam, or DOT physical, to ensure they maintain their physical and mental health.
What is The DOT Physical?
The DOT physical is designed to assess a driver’s overall physical, mental, and emotional health. The exam covers vision, hearing, blood pressure and pulse rate, urinalysis, and a physical evaluation. To pass, drivers must have:
- At least 20/40 vision (aids like glasses or contacts may be used)
- Ability to distinguish between red, green, and amber
- The ability to hear a forced whisper more than five feet away, with or without the help of a hearing aid
- Blood pressure less than or equal to 140/90
During the physical part of the exam, the physician will evaluate the driver’s general appearance, lungs, chest, spine, and musculoskeletal system. The physician will also check for limb impairment, hypertension, respiration, arthritis, neurological issues, epilepsy, evidence of drug use and alcoholism, and mental illness.
Potential Outcomes of a DOT Physical
Truckers who pass the exam will receive a two-year medical card. Those who pass with a short-term medical card have an issue that doesn’t disqualify them from driving a commercial vehicle but who need to seek treatment to improve their condition before they can receive a two-year medical card. A failed DOT physical means the driver has a serious ailment that prevents them from safely operating a commercial vehicle.
Items To Bring To Your DOT Physical
Truckers should bring the following items to their exam:
- Driver’s license or picture ID
- Glasses, contact lenses, and hearing aids if used while driving
- A list of medications they are currently taking and contact information for the prescribing doctor(s)
- Medical release letter from a primary care physician stating their condition doesn’t prevent them from safely operating a commercial vehicle
- FMCSA waiver if the driver has been previously exempted from test requirements
If you have any questions about the DOT Physical or would like to begin training to launch your trucking career, contact America Truck Driving School today!