Everything you need to know about DOT Physical
Professional Truck and Bus drivers work long hours driving their vehicles from one place to another. This can lead to a variety of health problems hence sometimes employers of these drivers want them to do DOT Physical. Now one might be wondering what is DOT Physical.
Department of Transportation (DOT) Physical is an exam that is a prerequisite for someone who wants to drive a commercial vehicle. This test ensures that all commercial drivers are up to date with their daily health examinations and performing at their best. It ensures that you or other commercial vehicle drivers are physically capable of handling the long hours and stress of driving.
A licensed “medical examiner” listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) National Registry must perform a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination. Doctors of medicine (MD), doctors of osteopathy (DO), physician assistants (PA), advanced practice nurses (APN), and doctors of chiropractic (DC) are among those who come under this group. The findings of a DOT physical test are valid for up to 24 months. When it is necessary to track a condition, such as high blood pressure, the medical examiner can issue a medical examiner’s certificate for less than 24 months.
A driver’s vision, blood pressure, and medical history are all assessed during a DOT Physical. This will help to ensure that a driver is healthy and capable of safely operating a commercial vehicle. The various components of a DOT Physical Exam are mentioned below.
Pulse rate/blood pressure:
A blood pressure and pulse test will be done on the drivers. This will allow them to check for any abnormalities and ensure that they are well enough to sit for extended periods of time.
A Vision Review:
During a DOT Physical, the doctor can check vision in both eyes for at least 20/40. Drivers should remember to carry their prescription glasses if they wear them. They will also be tested on their ability to differentiate between different shades, both with and without their prescription lenses.
A Hearing Test:
A hearing test is also part of the review. A driver must be able to hear a forced whisper from less than five feet away, with or without hearing aids.
Urinalysis is a form of urine analysis:
A urinalysis test will be expected of drivers. This test will decide whether the driver has a medical condition or any abnormalities that need to be addressed right away.
Examination of the full body will be done as well. During the driver’s DOT Test, drivers will also be subjected to a physical inspection.
They will be put to the test for:
- Weight, tremors, drug/alcohol issues, and general appearance
- Throat & Mouth (breathing and swallowing)
- Chest & Lungs (breathing)
- Organs & Abdomen (unusual masses, hernias, weakness)
- The Circulatory System (weak pulse, blood flow, varicose veins)
- The limbs (Loss or damage, weakness)
- The skeleton (limitation, tenderness)
- Physiological (balance, reflexes, speech)
During their test, they may be asked or required to obtain the necessary vaccinations. This may involve the following:
- Hepatitis A is a virus that causes liver disease (Hep A)
- Hepatitis B is a virus that causes liver disease as well (Hep B)
- Covid-19 (in recent times)
What should drivers bring to their DOT physical?
During or before their physical examination, they must fill out a medical examination report form. The form can be found online. It’s possible that filling out the form ahead of time would be less stressful than doing so during the test. The drivers should make sure to have it with them if they do it ahead of time. Other health-related things they can carry to a DOT/CDL physical Exam include:
- If their usual doctor or physician is not the one doing the test, they will need to have a medical history.
- Medical reports from any doctors they see particularly if they are being treated for an obstructive sleep apnea disorder.
- If they have diabetes mellitus or another disease that necessitates blood draws, the most current laboratory results are needed.
- Some auditory or visual aids they will need when driving (prescription lenses, hearing aids) so they can use them during the test.
- A list of all prescribed medicines they take, including dosage and timing, as well as the names of the drugs.
How difficult is it to pass a DOT physical examination?
The aim of a DOT physical is to see if drivers are fit to drive a commercial vehicle. Many circumstances that might make you disqualified can be handled and managed. Drivers will typically get a certificate if they can prove that the condition is stable and that they are under the guidance of a medical professional. However, they can be disqualified if they have some medical conditions. These are some of them:
- Vision problems that can’t be fixed
- Epilepsy caused by poorly controlled diabetes mellitus
- heart or lung disease that isn’t well-managed
How to get ready for a DOT Physical exam?
To prepare for the exam and to improve the well-being drivers should do the following:
- Make sure their prescriptions are up to date and that they are taking them as directed.
- Get their eyes checked and their prescription changed if they wear glasses or contact lenses.
- Drink in moderation.
- Don’t abuse drugs in any way.
- Salty snacks, for example, are high in sodium and can raise blood pressure.
- Sugary sweets, for example, should be avoided because they have a harmful effect on blood glucose levels.
- If they smoke cigarettes or vape, they should think about quitting.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Exercise on a daily basis and eat a balanced diet.
A DOT (Department of Transportation) physical is needed if you are or want to be a commercial vehicle driver. A licensed medical examiner conducts this physical test. It’s done to ensure you’re in good enough shape to operate a commercial vehicle. Most drivers are expected to have DOT physicals every two years. If you have a medical condition like diabetes or high blood pressure, you will be expected to have a DOT physical every year rather than every two years.