The Importance Of DOT Physicals And What To Expect During The Exam

The Importance Of DOT Physicals And What To Expect During The Exam

What is a DOT physical?

The Department of Transportation mandates that any person who drives a commercial vehicle should undergo a physical examination regularly.

Importance of DOT Physicals

Commercial drivers are held to higher physical, emotional, and mental standards as compared to drivers with standard licenses. This is because drivers of commercial vehicles are subject to greater risks, and more demands are made on their physical and mental capabilities. By insisting on regular physical examinations, the DOT makes sure that the drivers are healthy, in good mental condition,  and will not pose a danger to themselves, the vehicles they drive, or others on the road. These physicals are aimed at detecting any potential health problems that may cause difficulties while driving and increase the risk of accidents.

What to Expect

You will be required to provide your personal (date of birth, marital status, social security number, emergency contact, & driver’s license number) and medical (medical history, existing conditions, especially – poor hearing or vision, chronic pain, neurological problems, heart disease, and all medicines you’re currently taking) information.

A qualified medical examiner, such as a physician, physician’s assistant, or a nurse practitioner will conduct your physical examination. They will go through your medical history and current medical condition and check your blood pressure, heart rate and pulse. You will also need to undergo a vision test to check for impaired vision (proper vision is a crucial requirement for a commercial driver). The DOT states that drivers of commercial vehicles must have a minimum of 20/40 vision in both eyes – this includes corrective glasses/ contact lens. The hearing is also vital, so you can expect a thorough examination of your ears, nose, mouth, and throat & a hearing test. The examiner will check for signs of latent health problems that could crop up in the near future, and which can be remedied with timely treatment. You can also expect a neurological examination, a skin check and an exam of your heart and lungs. Your examiner will likely check for deformities or abnormalities of your spine, as that may make it difficult for you to be comfortable when you have to sit and drive for long hours. An examination of your abdomen and a check for a hernia is also likely to be on the agenda for your DOT physical.

On Completion

After the examiner is finished examining you, he/she will inform you if you have passed with flying colors or not. In case they have detected a physical condition that needs to be monitored closely, the certificate may have a limited validity – from a few months to a year; if you have no health issues and have perfect sight and hearing, your medical fitness certificate is valid for two years.

Are you due for your DOT physical? Avoid long queues and high fees – just walk into any of our three conveniently located clinics at Woodbridge, VA, Alexandria, VA or Germantown, MD. We’re open 24/7 and work extended hours. Our patients receive dedicated, professional healthcare at affordable costs.