The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires a physical exam if you operate a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 10,001 pounds or more in interstate commerce, or you transport hazardous materials in quantities requiring placards, in interstate commerce. This is essential to truckers in the hotshot business.

The DOT sets the following guidelines for CDL Holders/Drivers:

  • Must have 20/40 correctable vision in each eye. Glasses or contact lenses are permitted.
  • Cannot be a diabetic on a needle-injected insulin. Diabetes must be managed through a diet or oral medication permitted.
  • A driver’s blood pressure must be under 160/100. Prescription medication to control blood pressure is permitted.
  • The use of a Class 1 drug such as amphetamines, narcotics, or any other habit-forming drug is not permitted.
  • If a driver has a current diagnosis of any cardiovascular disease, they will be required to provide the medical examiner a stress test (performed within the last 12 months), and the driver will need a release from their medical examiner stating they can drive a commercial motor vehicle without restrictions.

The DOT also requires clearance for drivers that have been diagnosed with the following conditions:

  • Sleep Apnea
  • Recent Back Injury
  • Recent Major Surgery
  • A Current Hernia
  • Any Recent Workers’ Compensation Claims

How Long is the Exam Valid?

A DOT physical exam is valid for up to 24 months. The medical examiner may also issue a medical examiner’s certificate for less than 24 months when it is desirable to monitor a medical condition.

Important Information

If the medical examiner finds that the driver examined is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), the medical examiner will furnish one copy of the results to the person who was examined and complete a Medical Examiner’s Certificate. You must carry a current copy of your medical examination certificate with you when you drive.


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