If you are a bus driver or truck driver or need a CDL for your job, your employer may require you to pass a DOT exam to start a job with them or to continue working with them after a certain amount of time. They require this to make sure that you are in good enough health to drive your commercial vehicle safely. After all, a sedentary lifestyle can cause several health issues to crop up.

Having to undergo any type of exam to keep (or start) a job can be stressful and cause you to worry about your employment status and financial stability. However, the DOT exam is relatively straightforward. If you pass all of the tests within the exam and are in good health, you have nothing to worry about.

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about the DOT exam.

What Is a DOT Exam?

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires employers to make sure their CDL drivers meet certain criteria regarding their health as mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The DOT medical exam ensures these individuals are in good enough health to maintain the safety of themselves and those around them while driving commercial motor vehicles. 

The exam has to be completed by a physician certified by the FMCSA to be a valid certification. 

Depending on their level of health, commercial motor vehicle operators may have to undergo DOT examination more often than others. Because of this, the DOT exam certifications can last anywhere from 3 months to 2 years.

What Do You Need to Bring With You?

You will need to bring some form of identification to prove that you are the individual who needs to be examined. This can be your driver’s license or your passport. You may also want to bring your current certificate (if you have one).

Medical Information

The physical will begin with a review of your medical history. It’s important to bring a current medication list to the appointment with you.

You may also have to sign a release of your medical history should you have a preexisting medical condition that may affect your ability to operate a commercial vehicle. The examining physician may need to contact the doctor who prescribed the medication for your health condition to verify the validity of the prescription.

There are a few health conditions that you may need to provide additional information about them. If you have diabetes, you will have to bring your most recent Hemoglobin A1C labs and a log of your blood sugar levels. If you have any heart-related issues, you will need a note from your cardiologist signing off on your ability to work safely.

Don’t forget to bring any corrective lenses you may have with you to the appointment. You will need to wear them during the eye exam to make sure that your prescription is working properly. If you have hearing aids, you should also bring them with you for use during the hearing test.

Pass/Fail Concept

If you have any untreated medical issues that affect your ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle, you might fail the DOT exam. This might include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Nerve disease
  • Diabetes
  • Alcoholism
  • Respiratory disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Psychiatric disease

Failure of the exam is not the end of the world. It is possible to get a second opinion if you think that the judgment to fail you was unfair. 

There are also exceptions for those with a health condition such as diabetes, hearing impairments, or vision problems. As long as you can prove that you can safely operate your vehicle, you can still do so.

What Does the Exam Consist Of?

The DOT physical exam rates potential issues against the drivers’ ability to drive their commercial vehicles safely. The exam proves whether or not their physical health will affect their performance and cause harm to themselves and other people.

The Vision part of the exam checks for 20/40 acuity in each eye (with or without corrective lenses). It also checks for a 70″ peripheral in the horizontal meridian. The Hearing portion checks for the reception of a forced whisper from 5 feet or less. The individual must have less than 40 dB of hearing loss.

The Blood Pressure exam checks for high blood pressure and residual problems. It also checks for irregularities that may become a problem in the heart. Urinalysis screening checks for any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or blood diseases. The Physical Exam then checks for the overall wellbeing of the individual.

Physical Exam

The physical exam focuses on general appearance to determine issues with weight or problems with drugs and alcohol. The exam will also check the mouth, throat, lungs, and chest for respiratory or swallowing issues. 

The heart and other organs will get check for irregularities and underlying health problems. The physician will check for masses or hernias in the abdomen.

The physician will check your spine/musculoskeletal system for limitations. Your extremities will get checked for any damage that may impact your ability to drive safely. This includes limb loss. 

You can also expect the physician to check for any neurological issues with balance and reflexes.

Medical Forms

The examination involves a series of Medical Forms to complete a DOT exam. The first is the Medical Examination Report (MCSA-5875) that the physician will fill out regarding the individual’s health. The physician will complete a Medical Examiner’s Certification (MCSA-5876) to signify that you’ve passed the exam and can continue operating commercial vehicles with your CDL. 

If you have diabetes that you treat with insulin, the doctor will have to fill out the Insulin-Treated Diabetes Mellitus Assessment (MCSA-5870). This form will prove that your diabetes is under control and will not affect your ability to drive.

Make an Appointment Today

The sooner you get certified, the sooner you can hit the road. It’s important to get an appointment as soon as possible if you plan on applying for or renewing your CDL. If you are searching “DOT exam near me”, you’re in the right place. We’re able to certify drivers’ health following a DOT exam.

Contact The Spine Center today to schedule an appointment.

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