The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires drivers to get regular physicals to make sure they can be safe on the road. Here is what to expect.
Who Needs a DOT Physical?
If any of the following apply to you, you must get a DOT physical and carry a DOT medical certificate when you drive a commercial vehicle:
You are paid to operate a motor vehicle that holds nine to 15 passengers; you drive the vehicle more than 75 miles from where you report to work; you operate this vehicle for interstate commerce purposes.
You operate a motor vehicle with a gross combination weight rating, gross vehicle weight, gross vehicle weight rating, or gross combination weight of at least 10,001 pounds; you operate this vehicle for interstate commerce purposes.
You transport hazardous materials in certain quantities.
There are some restrictions for commercial drivers who have certain health problems. For example, if you take injectable insulin for diabetes, you cannot get a commercial driver’s license.
You must have at least 20/40 correctable vision in both eyes. The DOT does allow you to wear contact lenses or glasses to improve your vision.
In addition, you cannot use narcotics, amphetamines, or other habit-forming drugs if you want to obtain or renew your commercial driver’s license.
Driver’s Health History
Before meeting with the examiner, you must fill out the top part of the DOT physical form. The first section has room for your name, Social Security number, birthdate, driver’s license number, address, and telephone number. The second section asks about your medical history.
You must indicate whether you have had any of the following:
Brain Injury and/or Neurological Disorders
Epilepsy or Seizures
Loss of Hearing
Heart Attack and/or Heart Disease
Dizziness and/or Fainting
Spinal Cord Injuries
You should answer each question truthfully, or you could face serious legal consequences in the future.
Once the examiner completes all the DOT physical requirements, you will discuss the findings and see if there are any hazards from your health history or current medical condition. The examiner must document these hazards on your DOT physical form and determine whether you meet the DOT standards for receiving a medical certificate.
How Often Do You Need a DOT Physical?
If you meet the standards and do not require periodic medical monitoring, your certificate will be valid for two years. In some cases, the medical examiner will issue a certificate that lasts for only three months, six months, or one year. The examiner will also note whether you must wear a hearing aid or corrective lenses.
If you do not meet the standards, the examiner will not be able to issue a valid medical certificate.
It is necessary to get your DOT physical and to keep it updated. Stay healthy and be safe out there.