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Tips For Your Next DOT Physical

Tips for DOT PhysicalsIf you're designated as a DOT "Safety Sensitive" employee, meaning your job can impact your own safety or the safety of the public, then you are required to get a regular DOT Physical to maintain DOT compliance. DOT physicals follow strict guidelines mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ensuring that CDL drivers and other safety-sensitive employees are in good health to work safely.

DOT physicals can seem like an overwhelming and stressful process. To help simplify that process and help DOT employees be more prepared, we are listing some useful tips for your next physical and what to expect.

What To Bring

The first thing drivers and DOT safety sensitive employees need to bring with them is a complete list of medications including doses and their doctor's names and addresses. Having this information documented can help avoid potential conflicts when it comes to random drug testing in the future.

DOT employees should also bring appropriate documents for medical issues such as:

  • Drivers with vision or hearing problems need to bring their eyeglasses, contacts, or hearing aids

  • Drivers with diabetes need to bring the most recent lab results from their Hemoglobin A1C and their blood sugar logs

  • Drivers with heart-related issues need to, at minimum, bring a letter from their cardiologist that outlines their medical history and current medications, and indicates that they are safe to work

What is in a DOT Physical?


Drivers are required to have at least 20/40 acuity in each eye with or without correction. They are also required to have at least 70" peripheral in the horizontal meridian, measured in each eye.

Drivers must be able to perceive what is known as a "forced whisper" at a distance of 5ft or less, with or without a hearing aid. This standard equates to an average hearing loss in the better ear of less than 40 dB.
Blood pressure/pulse rate

The medical examiner will check the driver's blood pressure and pulse to look for high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats.

A urinalysis is required. The test looks for indications of underlying medical conditions such as diabetes.
Physical Examination

The physical exam itself will cover multiple different categories such as:

  • General appearance

  • Eyes (cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, etc.)

  • Ears (scarring of tympanic membrane, perforated ear drums, etc.)

  • Mouth and throat (to look for problems breathing or swallowing)

  • Heart (murmurs, extra sounds, pacemaker, etc.)

  • Lungs and chest, not including breast examination (abnormal breathing, impaired respiratory functions, cyanosis, etc.)

  • Abdomen and Viscera (enlarged liver, viscera, muscle weakness)

  • Vascular (abnormal pulse, carotid, varicose veins)

  • Genito-urinary (hernias)

  • Extremities (limb impaired)

  • Spine, other musculoskeletal (previous surgery, limitation of motion, tenderness, etc.)

  • Neurological (impaired equilibrium, coordination or speech pattern, ataxia, asymmetric deep tendon reflexes)

A DOT physical can only be completed by a medical examiner certified by the FMCSA. It is up to the Medical Examiner to determine if a candidate meets all the requirements, and to mark the report to the best of their knowledge.

At DOT Drug Testing USA, we are able to schedule your pre-employment DOT Physical as well as recurring physicals to maintain compliance. Physicals can be scheduled at any time with many locations near your home or office. Call one of our specialists today to schedule your next DOT Physical or you can schedule online.

Become DOT Compliant Today!

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