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DOT Physicals

If your job is designated as "safety-sensitive" for the Department of Transportation (DOT) - meaning your job can impact both their own safety and the safety of the public - they are required to have a regular physical to be compliant and keep working. A DOT physical follows strict guidelines mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), ensuring that commercial drivers and non-commercial drivers are in good health to work safely.

What to Bring to a DOT Physical Exam

All drivers bring a complete list of ALL of your medications, including the doses and your doctors’ names and addresses. You may want to complete page one of the exam (driver’s portion) to save time. If you have a condition that requires additional information, please read the list of requirements needed. If you have questions regarding your exam or medical condition please call for additional information at 952-898-2287 or visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov.

If you are uncertain if you will qualify for a DOT card, you may want to schedule a visit with your primary or specialty physician BEFORE your re-certification date. Each physical examination, just like each DOT applicant, is unique. The above are guidelines only, and not meant to be all inclusive or as a guarantee of passing the exam. Additional testing or/information may be required by your DOT examiner.

What the DOT Physical Covers

1. Vision

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.

2. Hearing

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.

3. 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.

4. Urinalysis

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

5. Physical Examination

The physical exam will cover a dozen different categories:

  • 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)

Bring a complete list of ALL of your medications, including the doses and your doctors’ names and addresses. You may want to complete page one of the exam (driver’s portion) to save time.

Drivers who require eyeglasses, contact lenses, or hearing aids

Bring your glasses, contacts, or hearing aids. You will be required to pass a vision and hearing test

Drivers who have high blood pressure

your blood pressure MUST be below 140/90 on the day of your exam or you may not qualify for a DOT card

Drivers who have diabetes

Your blood sugar should be controlled. Bring the most recent results of a lab test called a Hemoglobin A1C (HgAIC) and your blood sugar logs or other records related to your diabetes. Drivers with insulin-treated diabetes must have the Insulin Dependent Assessment Form completed by their treating clinicians no more than 45 days prior to examination by a certified medical examiner (CME). A Medical Examiner’s Certificate can’t be issued to the driver without this form. MCSA-5870

Drivers who have nighttime sleep disturbance (sleep apnea) and use a CPAP machine

Bring a reading from your machine documenting your proper use of the machine. A letter from your sleep specialist may also be required. Bring at least 90 days of data, but data from the past year is best.

Drivers who have heart-related issues, (including the use of stent, valve replacement, pacemaker, open-heart surgery, cardiac bypass surgery, or heart attack)

At minimum, bring a letter from your cardiologist (heart specialist) that outlines your medical history and current medications and indicates you are safe to drive a DOT vehicle. You may also need to bring the results of a recent stress test, ECHO cardiogram, or other testing completed within the past 1-2 years

Drivers who have suffered a stroke, a brain tumor, seizure disorder, or bleeding in the brain

Bring a letter from your neurologist (brain and nerve specialist) that outlines your medical history, current medications, and current neurologic and psychiatric state

Drivers who have experienced the permanent loss of use in an arm or a leg

Bring an overview from your physician of the injury and if you have any work restrictions due to the injury. You may need a Skilled Performance Examination in order to qualify for your DOT card

Drivers who are taking any medications that may cause sedation or sleepiness or controlled substances (includes narcotics, sleeping pills, anxiety medication, ADHD medication)

You may need a note and medical records from your treating physician regarding the safety of driving a DOT vehicle while using these medications

Drivers who are taking the blood thinner Coumadin (Warfarin)

Bring a recent INR (blood level and clearance) letter from your doctor. INR should be under 3.0.

Drivers who have nighttime sleep disturbance (sleep apnea) and use a CPAP machine

Bring a reading from your machine documenting your proper use of the machine; a letter from your sleep specialist may also be required. Bring at least 90 days of data, but data from the past year is best

Drivers who have heart-related issues, (including the use of stent, valve replacement, pacemaker, open-heart surgery, cardiac bypass surgery, or heart attack)

At minimum, bring a letter from your cardiologist (heart specialist) that outlines your medical history and current medications and indicates you are safe to drive a DOT vehicle

You may also need to bring the results of a recent stress test, ECHO cardiogram, or other testing completed within the past 1-2 years

Drivers who require eyeglasses, contact lenses, or hearing aids:

Bring your glasses, contacts, or hearing aids. You will be required to pass a vision and hearing test

Drivers who have high blood pressure:

Your blood pressure must be maintained below 140/90. Blood pressure above 140/90 may still qualify briefly until the pressure is adequately maintained.