Are you ready for a career on the road? Before you can become a commercial driver, you need to prove that you're in good physical shape for a job behind the wheel by scheduling and passing a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical. Before you visit your doctor, you may wish to review the DOT physical requirements to ensure your body is ready for the test. Once you pass the physical and obtain your commercial driver license, you can begin your new career.
DOT Physical Requirements
Who Can Perform a DOT Physical?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a DOT physical must be completed by a professional on the FMCSA national registry. On this list, you'll find doctors of medicine, doctors of osteopathy, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, and chiropractic doctors (source).
Your DOT physical is typically valid for 24 months. However, your doctor can issue the certificate for less than that if he or she finds a cause of concern.
The Scope of the Exam
When you go in for the exam, your doctor will check your body's overall health. Sometimes physicals vary a bit from doctor to doctor, but typically your doctor will assess your blood pressure, heartbeat, vision, and auditory health. He or she will likely also check for the following conditions:
- Loss of Hearing: If your hearing presents a cause for concern, you may be referred to an audiologist for a more thorough examination and treatment.
- Vision Issues: If you want to speed up the DOT physical requirements process, make sure you have an updated eyewear prescription.
- Digestive Problems: If your doctor notices any digestive issues, he or she might prescribe a diet change or course of medicine.
- Psychiatric Disorders: Unless you have a team driver, you will find yourself alone most of the time as a commercial driver. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, so your doctor will check for any signs of mental illness as well. You will not be discriminated against for having a mental illness, but you may need medication or therapy.
- Dizziness, Fainting, or Seizures: If you have a seizure or fainting spell behind the wheel, your own life will be in danger, as well as the lives of those around you on the interstate. These can be signs of a brain injury or neurological disorder.
- Alcohol/Drug Use: Your doctor will look for signs of excessive alcohol consumption and drug abuse.
- Missing Limbs: If you are missing a limb, it is up to your medical professional to determine whether or not you can safely operate a commercial vehicle.
- Cardiovascular Issues: During your examination, your doctor will look for cardiovascular issues including high blood pressure, warning signs of a stroke or heart attack, and heart disease.
- Respiratory Issues: Conditions like asthma and respiratory damage from smoking can affect your ability to breathe if not properly treated.
- Chronic Pain: If chronic pain gets in the way of your ability to do your job safely, you may explore treatment options with your doctor.
- Diabetes: The doctor may check your blood sugar to determine if you have diabetes. If you suffer from diabetes and require insulin therapy, your doctor will check that you're caring for your body properly. You may also need to file for a Federal Diabetes Exemption.
If you don't pass your DOT physical, don't panic. You might be able to apply for an exemption until you can get in the right shape. The FMCSA judges each scenario on a case-by-case basis.
Are you looking for a medical professional on the FMCSA national registry in southwest Missouri? At Loehr Chiropractic & Acupuncture, we have multiple physicians that are certified to perform a DOT physical. Our team can help you embark on your driving career in good health and continue driving safely for years to come. To learn more about our services or request an appointment, contact us today or call 417-887-8075.