Are you required to take a DOT physical exam immediately? This is the test that all commercial drivers must take periodically to renew their licenses. Suppose you’ve never taken this exam before or recently been diagnosed with a medical condition. In that case, you might be feeling nervous about what to expect and how to prepare. This article will give you all the information about the DOT physical examination.
What Is A Dot Physical Examination?
The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates all companies transporting people, property, or hazardous material. Any company that hires commercial drivers to operate vehicles weighing more than 10,001 pounds or transports hazardous materials must adhere to the guidelines outlined in the DOT regulations.
Moreover, the DOT physical exam ensures that commercial drivers are healthy enough to drive their vehicles safely. The exam must be conducted by a certified medical examiner listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry.
Find The Right Medical Professional Physical Exam
The DOT physical examination is necessary for all commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. It would be best to find licensed and certified DOT physical exam providers that meet DOT requirements for the best results.
Below are several specialists that may conduct DOT physical examinations:
- Doctors of Medicine (MD)
- Doctors of Osteopathy (DO)
- Physician Assistant (PA)
- Advance Practice Nurses (APN)
- Doctors of Chiropractic (DC)
What Is An MEC?
The DOT Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) is a document that allows drivers to operate a commercial vehicle. The MEC comes from the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners and contains various information about your health and the conditions of your body. When performed by an approved doctor, you will receive this medical certificate which you may bring with you to provide proof of passing.
Things To Prepare Before The Dot Physical Examination
A DOT physical exam is quite similar to a regular physical exam. This means that you will have to undergo blood and urine test. Therefore, preparing yourself before the examination is good, especially if you have any medical conditions that may disqualify you from driving.
Some of the precautions you should take before the exam include but are not limited to:
- Bring your driver’s license.
- Bring your glasses or contact lenses.
- If you wear a hearing aid, ensure it works correctly and bring it along.
- Bring any medications (both prescription or over-the-counter drugs) that you are taking. You should also ensure that they are in their original containers to facilitate identification by the doctor.
- Please bring a list of all medications along with their dosages for reference by the attending physician.
Tests Included In A Dot Physical Examination
The DOT physical examination is a comprehensive health assessment. This ensures your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle despite any impairments you may have. The following are some of the tests included in a complete DOT physical examination:
A urinalysis detects the presence of sugar, ketones, protein, bilirubin (yellow-orange pigment), blood, nitrite, and leukocytes in your body. Abnormal results may indicate potential kidney damage due to diabetes or other medical conditions.
This vision test checks your eye and peripheral vision to determine if your eyesight falls within acceptable visual acuity as determined by the FMCSA.
According to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, drivers with a hearing loss of at least 40 dB in their better ear must hear a forced whisper from 5 feet away.
A blood pressure test determines if you have high blood pressure or if it falls into the normal range for the safe operation of a CMV.
An EKG measures the electrical activity in your heart and helps detect problems with irregular heartbeats or damage from heart attacks. This information may help identify potential cardiovascular health problems before they seriously impact your health and ability to work safely as a driver.
Diabetes And Other Chronic Diseases
Regular screenings detect blood sugar levels and chronic diseases like diabetes before they progress too far. This ensures that you will be able to perform all essential functions required for work as a commercial driver without compromising safety for yourself or others on the road.
Muscle Strength And Reflexes
Tests checking coordination, muscle strength and reflexes ensure that parts of your body function properly, even when unforeseen events like collisions occur while working. Additionally, these tests check for nerve damage which may indicate compromised mobility and safety when operating large vehicles like trucks or buses.
How Long Does A Dot Examination Take?
Each DOT Physical Exam takes about 30 minutes. However, if a driver has some medical issues which will require additional examination, it could take longer.
Before the exam starts, drivers are asked to fill out and sign a medical health history questionnaire covering their medical conditions, medication, and allergies. At this point, the doctor may ask them some questions about their history before starting their physical exam.
What Happens If I Pass The Physical Examination?
Passing the DOT exam means that your medical examiner has determined that you meet all of the minimum requirements of a commercial driver. They will also provide you with a DOT MEC and Medical Examination Report (MER) – a form that the driver and examiner complete during the exam.
You must carry a copy of this certificate when operating a commercial vehicle. Your employer may or may not allow you to drive a commercial vehicle without having this certificate on file.
Furthermore, if your DOT physical examination is successful, your certificate will be valid for 24 months. The expiration date on the certificate is determined by your examiner based on their assessment of your medical examination and any specific requirements in place for drivers with certain issues or ailments (diabetes, sleep apnea, etc.).
If granted, then it means that your employer might let you drive after all—but FMCSA will still monitor your case.
DOT physical exams are essential to ensure that truckers, pilots, and other transportation professionals are physically fit for their work. Without this exam, the public will be at risk of an accident caused by a driver who does not meet the standard of the DOT physical exam.
Remember to keep your prepare yourself before taking a DOT physical exam. With this, you may pass the exam easily without any hassle. If you fail, there are many ways to get back on track. Please take it as a lesson and take good care of yourself.
Schedule a DOT physical exam with EG Healthcare. You can count on the great members of our medical staff to be with you every step of the way. Make an appointment with us or send us a message right now!