In order for your commercial driver’s license (CDL) to be valid, the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that you complete a medical examination every two years at minimum. This DOT physical helps ensure that you are healthy enough to perform the job duties of a truck driver.
Who Can Perform a DOT Physical?
A DOT physical can be performed by any medical professional on the DOT’s list of certified medical examiners. If you have a current primary care physician (PCP), they can perform this exam in many cases, although you will need to ask them to make sure.
What to Bring to Your Appointment
Bringing the proper information with you can help make your appointment go more smoothly. If you are seeing a physician other than your PCP, have your doctor’s contact information available. You should also have contact information for any other medical professionals you are seeing, as well as documentation regarding any health conditions you may have. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, make sure your prescription is up to date and bring this to your DOT physical as well as your corrective lenses. You should also be prepared to tell your medical examiner about any medications you are taking as well as your medical history.
What a DOT Physical Includes
Your doctor will test your vision to ensure that it is at least 20/40. This can be with or without corrective lenses.
The physician will also check your hearing. You must have a hearing loss of less than 40dB in whichever ear is better, with or without hearing aids.
Blood Pressure and Pulse Rate
Your examiner will check your blood pressure and pulse rate. If these are not within the healthy range, further monitoring may be necessary for you to drive commercially.
DOT physicals include a urine test, which checks for diabetes and other health conditions. This is separate from the required drug testing. However, it is possible for the doctor to collect two samples, one to check for medical conditions and the other to check for the presence of controlled substances. If this is the case, they will inform you of all the necessary steps you will need to take during the testing process.
Full Physical Examination
In addition to the tests above, the doctor will conduct a complete physical examination. They will check for any indications that you are unable to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle. This includes checking your heart, lungs, neurological function, et cetera.
Conclusion of Your DOT Physical
After completing the exam, your doctor will fill out the required forms and send these directly to the state’s licensing agency. If you pass the DOT physical, you will be cleared to operate a commercial vehicle for the next two years. You can also be approved to drive, but be required to return for follow-up exams more frequently, such as every 6 months or every year. If you do not meet necessary physical requirements, your CDL will not be valid. However, there are several options for how to move forward, depending on the specific reason you did not pass the physical. Your doctor can help clarify what your next steps should be.
Prepare for Your Trucking Career
If you are ready to begin your career in the trucking industry, we can help you get started. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the process and what you can expect when earning your CDL.
To learn more about Phoenix Truck Driving School, contact us today.