DOT Medical Card Physical Examination and Requirements

Brett McDonough
November 19, 2021

A Department of Transportation (DOT) physical is always required for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates CMV drivers to pass a DOT physical to ensure they are mentally, physically, and emotionally fit to drive these vehicles on the road. Taking and passing a DOT physical exam is necessary for CMV drivers due to public safety, and it's also required for maintaining a valid commercial driver's license (CDL).

Here is a detailed overview of the DOT medical card renewal process:

Medical History

Giving a detailed account of your past medical history is a requirement during the DOT physical exam. Discussing past surgeries, health conditions, and medications taken are all critical aspects of a DOT physical.

Vitals Test

A large amount of the DOT physical involves testing vitals. This testing process includes checking your pulse, blood pressure, height, and weight. A urinalysis is also required to detect any underlying medical issues.

Vision Test

You will also need to undergo a vision test. The FMSCA requires drivers to meet a minimum of 20/40 vision acuity within each eye, with or without glasses or contacts. In addition, you will need at least a 70° field of vision in each eye to pass the vision test.

Hearing Test

Passing the hearing test is another requirement of a DOT physical. Typically, this occurs during an audiometry or whisper test. An audiometry test measures hearing sounds at various frequencies to determine if the driver has any hearing loss. On the other hand, a whisper test records the distance a driver can hear a whispered voice.

Physical Examination 

A DOT physical exam is a requirement that allows the examiner to evaluate the physical appearance, such as obesity or other health conditions. The examiner will also check various aspects of the body, such as the lungs, chest, heart, back, spine, skin, and more.

Learning more about the physical examination process is always a good idea if you need a DOT physical near you.

DOT Physical FAQs:

Q: What is a DOT physical?

A: During a physical examination, a certified medical examiner (CME) will check each of your vital signs, evaluate your medical history, and also perform a thorough exam to ensure it's safe for you to operate a CMV.

Q: How can I show proof for passing DOT physical requirements?

The CME will provide you with a medical examiner's certificate (MEC), also known as a DOT medical card, once you meet all of the physical examination requirements. On the other hand, you can lose your CDL if you don't have a valid DOT medical card.

Q: How can I find a DOT physical exam near me?

The easiest way to find a DOT physical near you is to type in your zip code while using the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) website to find the closest physician to your location.

Q: When will I need to renew my DOT medical card?

Depending on the results of your physical, a DOT medical card can be valid for up to two years. However, it may be less than two years if the medical examiner finds that the driver has any existing conditions that need to be monitored on an ongoing basis. A few of the most common conditions include heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or a sleep disorder.

Q: How will I obtain the results of my DOT physical exam?

Once the physical examination is complete, your results will be automatically reported to the NRCME. Certified drivers will be given a copy of the Medical Examiner's Certificate.

Schedule a DOT Physical Near You Today

Safety is always one of the biggest concerns for the commercial transportation industry, as the FMCSA only lets CMEs conduct a DOT physical. Scheduling a DOT physical exam near you is essential in compliance with the law while also ensuring it's safe for you to get back on the road. Understanding the entire DOT physical exam process is a great way to prepare you for the testing process while creating a less stressful experience.

Now is one of the best times to schedule a DOT physical exam for commercial drivers. 

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