That’s what the DOT physical examination aims to find out when CMV drivers report for their regular exams. Ordered at least once every 24 months, these exams evaluate the overall health and physical condition of the driver to ensure they don’t have any health issues that would interfere with their ability to drive safely. It’s required for all DOT-regulated drivers that operate a CMV in excess of 10,000 pounds (GVWR/GCWR).
Who Needs a DOT Physical?
If you’re a DOT-regulated driver who operates a vehicle in excess of 10,000 pounds (GVWR/GCWR), you are required to have physical examinations. As stated above, you will need an exam at least once every 24 months, though the medical examiner may require more frequent appointments for medical conditions that require close monitoring (such as high blood pressure).
Where do I Go for My Physical?
All DOT-regulated physical exams must be performed by an FMCSA Certified Medical Examiner. There are a variety of different practitioners who hold this title, including medical doctors, chiropractors, doctors of osteopathy, physician’s assistants and advanced practice nurses.
What Can I Expect During the Exam?
Both you and the medical examiner will complete a Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver Fitness Determination during the exam. This will include a full health history where you must report a variety of past medical problems, including: serious illnesses or injuries, a history of seizures, high blood pressure, lung disease, sleep disorders, alcohol/drug use, chronic low back pain or diabetes.
The Medical Examiner will review this history with you and make comments, as needed, on the form to address the conditions, as well as any medications you’re currently taking.
During the actual examination, the examiner will test the following:
- Blood Pressure/Pulse Rate
- Urine (for proteins, blood or sugars)
They will also do a general exam to check your general appearance, eyes, ears, mouth and throat, heart, abdomen vascular system and other body systems for abnormalities. Things such as obesity, hernias, limb impairment or heart murmurs will be noted on the report.
At the conclusion of the exam, a determination will be made regarding whether you’re fit enough to continue driving a CMV – as well as when your next exam is due. This date will be indicated your medical certificate, which must be kept in your driver qualification file. If you have any impaired limbs, but are cleared for driving, you’ll also need a variance, which must be kept on file, too. We’ll cover variances in more detail in an upcoming article.