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What is a DOT physical exam?

The Department of Transportation requires DOT physical exams for some types of commercial drivers to ensure they’re able to drive safely and meet the requirements of their over-the-road responsibilities. DOT physicals are required for drivers who:

  • operate a vehicle that holds nine to 15 passengers

  • drive the vehicle more than 75 miles from your workplace

  • operate a vehicle for interstate commerce

  • the vehicle’s gross combination weight rating, gross vehicle weight, gross vehicle weight rating, or gross combination weight is at least 10,001 pounds

  • transport certain amounts of hazardous materials

What happens during the DOT physical exam?

First, your health history will be reviewed, including review of any medications or supplements you take. During the actual exam:

  • your blood pressure and pulse will be checked

  • a vision test will be performed

  • your mouth, throat, eyes and ears will be examined

  • your heart and lungs will be listened to

  • your spine health will be checked

  • a neurological exam will be performed

  • your belly will be palpated, or gently felt, for tender areas

  • a hernia evaluation will be performed

Will the doctor fill out the required forms?

Yes; the DOT physical requires specific forms to be filled out fully. At Access Medical Clinic, we fill out DOT forms regularly, so we have a clear understanding of the specific requirements and we can ensure forms are filled out properly the first time. Once your physical exam is complete, you and the doctor will discuss the findings including any potential hazards that were identified, and a determination will be made regarding your medical certificate and qualifications. Certificates can last from a few months to as long as two years. Once the certificate is expired, you’ll need to have an additional exam to gain recertification.