DOT Physicals

man doing push ups in a parking lot, his feet pressed against the grille of his semi truck.

We provide DOT CDL physical testing for Commercial Driver License examinations in this area

During a DOT physical, a medical examiner checks your vital signs, reviews medical history, performs a physical exam & urinalysis. Your DOT certificate/card will be issued when you meet physical requirements. 

What to Bring (everyone)

  • A current US Drivers license
  • list of ALL medications, doses, providers’ names & addresses
  • Medical Examination Report Form. For the fillable form to complete, print, and sign: CLICK HERE

What to Bring (all applicable)

  • 90-360 days of CPAP data
  • glasses, contacts, or hearing aids
  • recent INR letter from your provider 
  • A1C results & records related to your diabetes
  • additional testing or/information may be required.
  • you may need a Skilled Performance Examination
  • letter from cardiologist indicating you are safe to drive
  • results of stress test, ECHO, other tests from the past 2 years
  • letter from neurologist with med history, & current status 
  • overview from provider: work restrictions from loss of a limb 
  • medical records from treating provider for controlled medications

Contact First Nurses today to schedule an appointment and learn more about our DOT physicals.

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a DOT physical, and why is it required?

Professional truck drivers and bus drivers can expect their boss to require a DOT physical or a Department of Transportation physical. The DOT physical exam is a test that everyone who wants to drive a commercial motor vehicle must take (CMV). This test makes sure that all commercial drivers’ daily health checks are up to par. In addition, it ensures that you or other drivers of commercial vehicles can handle the long hours and stress of the job. Learn all the information you need and what to expect.

The Department of Transportation requires all commercially licensed drivers to get DOT physicals to ensure they are healthy enough to drive a commercial vehicle safely. Drivers who carry more than 15 passengers, get paid to drive a vehicle that can support eight or more people, carry dangerous materials, or have a gross combined weight of 10,000 pounds will need this type of physical.

Under certain conditions, a driver may be able to get out of some DOT physical requirements that they would fail otherwise. There are exceptions for people with diabetes, vision, hearing, and physical disabilities (such as missing a finger or having a prosthesis). These exemptions are given on a case-by-case basis. Generally, exemptions are given when it can be shown that the possible problem is well-managed and that granting the request will not cause any harm.

You will get a certificate and a copy to give to your employer if you pass the physical. Even though the information will not be sent directly to the employer, it could be given out if the employer upon your request. At the end of the day, a DOT test will make sure that a truck driver knows how to drive and is healthy enough to do so. Also, it is important to stay up-to-date on your state’s rules about driving big vehicles since they can change at any time.

You can get a DOT physical exam from any licensed medical examiner who is listed in the registry at the FMCSA. First Nurses is one of multiple options in this registry. 

What does a DOT physical consist of?

The Department of Transportation says that a licensed medical examiner must give you your physical. Our nurse practitioners are licensed medical examiners. During the DOT exam, your nurse practitioner will check your hearing, eyesight, and blood pressure. They will also check for peripheral vision. Your nurse practitioner will also look at your medical history, medications, and other information. 

Essentially a DOT physical will check for health in five categories, although depending on the person, the exam may be more extensive. Here are the main elements checked:

  • Vision – Drivers must be able to see at least 20/40 in each eye, with or without glasses or contacts. They also have to have a peripheral vision of at least 70″ in the horizontal meridian in each eye. 
  • Hearing – With or without a hearing aid, drivers must be able to hear a “forced whisper” at a distance of 5 feet or less. This standard means an average hearing loss of less than 40 dB in the better ear. 
  • Blood Pressure and Pulse Rate – Your nurse practitioner will check for high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat.  
  • Urinalysis – Urine samples will allow the nurse practitioner to test for signs of diseases like diabetes and others. 
  • Physical – Your nurse practitioner will look for everything to do with your physical health to determine if you can handle the job physically. 

By the end of the test, your nurse practitioner will have a comprehensive look at your health and determine if your body can handle the physical and mental demands of log term driving of dangerous machinery. 

The nurse practitioner who does your DOT physical will ask you detailed questions about your medical history. Other questions will include medications, tobacco use, alcohol use, and illegal drug use. In addition, a physical exam will check height, weight, blood pressure, hearing, appearance, eyes, ears, mouth, heart, spine, neurological health, and much more. Essentially the exam will check for your entire body’s health from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet and everything in between. 

Furthermore, they will also check for other health concerns with a urinalysis to check for protein, blood, sugar, and specific gravity. Your nurse practitioner can tell from these tests if you need more tests to look for other health problems. You might also need a sleep apnea test if you have signs of obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder in which you stop breathing while you sleep. 

No matter where you get your DOT physical, you have to meet the same requirements. This is because drivers often cross state lines when they go on trips, and safety rules for drivers are the same everywhere. If you need to take a medical leave at any point in your career, you may need to get a new DOT physical. 

Re-taking the test depends on whether the reason for your medical leave could affect your ability to drive a commercial vehicle safely. Most of the time, it is up to the motor carrier to decide if you need a new physical and if your CDL physical form should be in your driver qualification or DQ file. Your DOT physical does not have to be in your DQ file, but if it is, your employer must treat your DQ file as confidential information to follow ADA rules. 

How do I prepare for a DOT physical?

If you want to save time at the physical, you can fill out the driver’s part of the test at home. Next, you will need basic information about your providers, medications, hearing aids, contacts, or glasses. If you have diabetes, keep track of your blood sugar readings and your most recent Hgb A1C.

People with sleep apnea will need records from the last 90 days from their CPAP machine. If you have heart problems, you need to get a DOT physical and a letter from your cardiologist saying you are okay to drive. In addition, bring any results from heart tests, strokes, brain tumors, seizures, or other neurological issues.

A letter and medical records from your provider if you are taking any drugs that can make you sleepy or are controlled substances. If you have lost the use of an arm or leg for good, your provider should write you a letter with any work restrictions. Finally, if you are taking a blood thinner, you will need a letter from your provider and a recent blood level and clearance test.

Try to avoid coffee, tobacco, and energy drinks about a day before your test. Your blood pressure can go up by up to 20 points if you use these things. If your blood pressure is already high, this may be enough to keep you from getting a new medical card.

How often do I need to have a DOT physical?

A DOT physical exam is required for any driver who operates a commercial motor vehicle. A DOT physical is valid for 2 years and must be renewed more frequently depending on the driver’s medical conditions. You can get a DOT physical from any licensed medical examiner who is listed in the registry at the FMCSA.

How much does a DOT physical cost?

Unfortunately, DOT exams do not have a standard cost. Prices vary, and some companies will pay for your CDL physical, and others will not. On average, a DOT physical costs between $85 and $226. However, some sites charge as little as $50. Even some drugstores, such as CVS, provide DOT physicals.

What disqualifies you from getting a CDL?

A felony or misdemeanor history could disqualify you from getting a CDL. Here is a list of some of the disqualifying crimes:

  • Being under the influence of alcohol while driving 
  • Being under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Having an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater while operating a CMV
  • Refusing to take an alcohol test
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Using the vehicle to commit a felony

Driving a CMV when, as a result of prior violations committed operating a CMV. Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a CMV, including but not limited to the crimes of motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle, and negligent homicide

Using a vehicle in the commission of a felony involving manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing a controlled substance

Using a CMV in the commission of a felony involving an act or practice of severe forms of trafficking in persons

Keep in mind that the amount of time that you are disqualified from operating a CMV differs between the above offenses. Additionally, whether or not it is your first offense can also change the disqualification time.