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What You Should Know About the DOT Physical Exam

semi truck physical exam CDLThe DOT physical exam is a special physical medical exam required by the Department of Transportation. You cannot drive or maintain a commercial driving license without taking this exam. There are numerous benefits of taking this exam. Before taking this exam there are certain things you need to know. Here are some of the things you did not know about the DOT Physical exam:

The medical exam must be conducted by a certified and licensed medical examiner such as the trained physicians at San Antonio DOT Exam Doctors in San Antonio, TX, who are listed in the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) National Registry. The Depart of Transportation requires all drivers of commercial vehicles to undergo regular physical examinations to ensure that they are fit to drive safely on the roads. 

What the DOT Exam Covers

Loss of hearing

This exam tries to identify whether an individual has a hearing problem or not. Loss of hearing can be a problem for you as a driver because you need to listen and hear what is going on, in and around you. If you cannot listen or you are suffering from a hearing problem, the chances of you passing this medical exam are very minimal. In fact, it is not easy for you to pass the DOT test if you hearing difficulties.

Dizziness or fainting

The DOT exam also tests for dizziness or fainting problems among candidates. This means that if you constantly feel dizzy or suffer from a condition that causes fainting, you will not be given the DOT medical card or certificate. This is because; you will be putting other road users’ lives at risk in case the health condition kicks in.

Impaired vision

All drivers should have good vision. If you have impaired vision, chances of you causing an accident are very high. Therefore, all drivers are subjected to tests to determine their eyesight capabilities and problems.

Heart disease

This medical examination also covers heart attack and heart disease. It is a rigorous physical exam that identifies heart complications that can prevent a driver from executing his or her duties comfortably without putting the lives of other road users at risk.

Spinal cord injuries

Most commercial vehicle drivers are long distance drivers. With spinal cord injuries, it will be difficult for you to drive long distances to deliver your goods or passengers. Therefore, the DOT exam tries to find out if you have any spinal cord problems.         

Alcohol and Drug abuse

The test is conducted in an intricate manner that it can detect a drug in your system that you took 30 days ago. Road carnage and road rage have been attributed to drug abuse and alcoholism. Therefore, in a move to reduce this, the Department of Transportation tests for drug abuse on every commercial vehicle driver. In case some traces of drugs are found in your system, you will not be issued the DOT medical card or certificate.

The DOT physical exam is a very strict exam that can detect small traces of drugs in your body. The test is so elaborate that it can detect a drug even after 30 days of using the drug. Therefore, if you want to take this test ensure that you do not use drugs for quite a long time. Otherwise, you will fail the exam and miss out on the various opportunities available for you. Among the drugs this test detects includes;

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine
  • Heroin
  • Amphetamines

The DOT medical card is valid for only two years

Whether you have passed or still in the process of taking this exam, it is important for you to know that it is valid for only two years. Once you receive the card or certificate, you will have two years before it expires. Once the car expires, you will have to take another exam.

The urine test is not just for testing drugs

When you take this exam expect to be subjected to a urinalysis (urine test). This test is not only meant to test for drugs in your system, but it is also meant for checking the presence sugar and protein in your urine. In case sugar is present in your urine, you might be suffering from diabetes without your knowledge. On top of that, it enables the medical practitioners to identify other medical issues like kidney problems.

Other conditions can prevent you from passing the exam

If you thought that the exam only checks for drug abuse, diabetes or high blood pressure, the think again. There are other conditions that can prevent you from passing and receiving the DOT medical card. Some of these conditions include; poor visual acuity, epilepsy, mental disorders and advanced heart disease. On top of that individuals with impairment of limbs, alcoholics and other disabilities are unlikely to pass this exam.

In conclusion, understanding more about the DOT medical exam will enable you to know what to expect during and after the exam.    


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