DOT Physical Exams
What is a DOT physical exam?
The Department of Transportation requires a physical exam for any person driving a truck that weighs more than 10,000 pounds for commercial purposes, and a new exam must be completed every 24 months. The purpose of the exam is to certify the health of the individual driver, and to ensure that no known health conditions could be a safety hazard to the driver or others on the road. Doctors and advanced practice providers must train and receive certification to be able to perform a DOT physical exam.
How should I prepare for my DOT physical exam?
A significant portion of the DOT physical involves paperwork to be completed prior to the appointment. That paperwork is available here for you to print and complete before your visit. If you choose not to complete this before your visit, please arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment to allow ample time to complete it. This is government-sanctioned paperwork for the DOT physical, and if it is not completed before your visit with the doctor, your appointment will need to be rescheduled.
If you are on medications, especially blood pressure medication, it is important to take it as scheduled on the day of your appointment in order to increase your chance of passing the DOT exam. If things like blood pressure are out of an acceptable range, that will jeopardize your chances of being qualified to pass the DOT Exam.
If you have major health conditions or a history of major health conditions, bring as much documentation from prior physicians, including specialists, as you possibly can. If a patient has sleep apnea, a printout from the CPAP device is needed to confirm that the patient is wearing the corrective device, demonstrating compliance.
What can I expect during my DOT physical exam?
- A quick eye exam, including a test for colorblindness, important for identifying traffic lights.
- Testing to ensure no hearing loss impedes your ability to safely maneuver in traffic.
- An assessment of your ability to grip a steering wheel
- A quick assessment of your heart by listening to its rhythm through a stethoscope
- A review of your current medications and your medical history
If you pass the exam, the health care provider will complete the remainder of the required paperwork, and send you a signed certificate of completion, which is good for up to two years.