DOT Physical Exam Requirements

DOT Physical Exam Requirements in Halethorpe MD, Reisterstown MD, and Rosedale MD

Chiropractic Halethorpe MD Amy Office DOT Requirements

A DOT - Department of Transportation - physical is a test mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for drivers operating commercial vehicles. A DOT exam examines if you are capable of meeting the physical demands of the job.

The FMCSA requires drivers to take a DOT physical in Halethorpe MD, Reisterstown MD, and Rosedale MD to ensure driver safety and public safety.

Essentials of a DOT Physical Exam

To understand DOT Physical requirements, you need to know if you are eligible for taking the exam. DOT exam requirements also include following the rules for the exam and undergoing all specified tests. Know all about DOT physical requirements here.

DOT Physical - Eligibility Requirements

If you are a driver that falls in any of the following categories, then you need a DOT physical:

  • You receive compensation for operating a vehicle that can carry 8+ people
  • You drive a vehicle with a capacity for 15 people
  • You drive vehicles with GCWR (Gross Combination Weight Rating) exceeding 10, 000 pounds
  • You drive a vehicle that carries hazardous materials and requires you to use a HAZMAT placard

Eligibility requirements also include specific health conditions that may disqualify you for the exam.

These health conditions include:

  • Poor vision that is not rectifiable
  • Diabetes mellitus that is not under control
  • Epilepsy
  • Unmanaged lung or heart ailments
  • Narcolepsy
  • Untreated high blood pressure
  • Marijuana use. Using it under prescription does not make you DOT-eligible
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Presence of protein in urine, which may be indicative of kidney ailments
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Illegal substance use

DOT Physical - Testing Preparation Requirements

A DOT physical tests your ability to manage the demands of your occupation as a driver. Several factors are examined to assess your physical and mental capability.

Adhering to DOT physical requirements starts with a thorough preparation for the exam. Here’s how can get started with preparing yourself for the test:

  • Complete a medical examination form that will be provided to you on request. The form is available online here. You can submit the form before the procedure or while it is underway.
  • Carry a list of all the medicines you are currently using, including dosage details. Keep all medical records handy.
  • Submit medical records and letters from your doctor, on request, if you are under medications that can induce sleep
  • Expect to be asked about your recent blood test reports, especially if you have medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus
  • Be prepped with a report/ letter from your cardiologist indicating that you are in a safe condition to drive. This may be essential if you have heart ailments. Carry any reports of heart tests you may have had recently
  • Have your CPAP report handy if you have sleep apnea
  • Show a letter from your neurologist regarding your condition if you have epilepsy, brain tumor, seizures, or have a stroke history
  • Get a letter from your doctor describing your condition and occupational limitations in case of a missing limb
  • Display blood reports including blood level reports and clearance test reports if you use blood thinners. Also, carry a letter from your doctor describing your condition
  • Keep a list of the names and contact details of doctors you may be receiving treatment from.
  • Be prepared with your visual aids such as glasses and contacts, and hearing aids. Use them while undergoing the test, especially if you use them while driving

DOT Physical - Test Requirements

The medical examiner performing DOT physical will need details about your medical history as part of the procedure. He/ she will ask you questions related to understand your medical history. You may have to fill a form detailing your medical history.

Your medical history will typically cover:

  • Information about past surgeries
  • Details about existing medications
  • Particulars about use of any substances such as alcohol, tobacco or substances whose consumption is illegal
  • Information about drug tests you have failed to pass
  • Indications of substance dependence history
  • Details about any current medical conditions

This is followed by a physical test that includes checking your:

  • Blood pressure
  • Height and weight
  • General demeanor
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Ears
  • Eyes
  • Skin
  • Heart
  • Circulatory system
  • Lungs
  • Mouth and throat
  • Back and spine
  • Abdomen
  • Joints and limbs
  • Walking posture
  • Urinary system and genital
  • Nervous system (your reflexes are also examined)


This test gives information about your blood sugar level. Urinalysis also indicates if other tests are essential to gain information about your health condition. Undergoing additional tests is necessary if specified by the examiner.

You may have to undergo a sleep apnea test in case you have obstructive sleep apnea. An electrocardiogram may be requested, if necessary. You may also have to undergo a blood test, if the examiner deems such tests necessary.

The objective of any or all tests performed during a DOT physical is to confirm if you are eligible to be a commercial vehicle driver.

DOT Physical – Test Validity Requirements

A DOT physical is valid only if it is performed by a licensed healthcare provider with FMCSA approval. You can search for authorized medical examiners on FMCSA website.

According to the FMCSA, medical examiners performing a DOT physical can be any of the following:

  • Doctors of Chiropractor (DC)
  • Doctors of Osteopathy (DO)
  • Doctors of Medicine (MD)
  • Advanced Practice Nurses (APN)
  • Physician Assistants (APN)

A medical examiner with a license alone is not eligible to conduct a DOT physical. Only FMCSA-certified examiners are eligible for conducting a DOT physical.

DOT Physical Exam - Passing Requirements

A DOT physical is performed to assess your physical and mental suitability to be a commercial vehicle driver. As a driver of commercial vehicles, you face the risk of:

  • Obesity – Did you know that truck drivers are 2 times more likely to be obese than other workers in the US? Obese drivers are more likely to develop:
    • Sleep apnea
    • Heart disease
    • Hypertension
    • Diabetes Mellitus
    • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes Mellitus – High glucose levels in blood can lead to blindness, heart diseases and kidney failure.
  • High Blood Pressure – This condition makes drivers vulnerable to stroke and heart diseases. These two conditions are among the major causes of deaths in the U.S.
  • Reduced Physical Activity – Absence of adequate physical activity can reduce sleep quality and stress management ability. Decrease in physical activity can lead to lowered mental alertness, which increases the chances of accidents.

Given the risks of a commercial vehicle driver, a DOT physical is in the best interests of the driver as well as the public. As such, you need to pass all physical tests in a DOT exam.

Even if you have certain medical conditions (except those that disqualify you for the exam), you can pass the physical. It is important to show that your condition is being well-managed and that you are undergoing relevant treatments.

In Conclusion

A DOT physical is mandatory if you want to pursue commercial vehicle driving as a profession. An in-depth knowledge of DOT physical requirements enables you to prepare well for the exam.

A DOT physical certification is valid for 2 years. Most drivers have to retake the exam after 2 years to renew their certification. Specific medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes mellitus necessitate an annual DOT physical.







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