At Northern Medical Center, you can get your Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam done by a Medical Examiner certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
When is a DOT Physical Required?
A DOT physical helps to determine if a driver is physically, mentally, and emotionally fit to operate a commercial motor vehicle.
An exam may be requested if the driver wishes to operate a commercial vehicle across state lines (also called “interstate driving”). Intrastate drivers, or drivers that stay within one state, may also require a DOT physical, depending on the regulations that are specific to a particular state.
Some drivers may also choose to undergo the physical and obtain a commercial driver’s license to improve their candidacy for a job.
What to Expect During a DOT Physical Examination
- Medical History
During a DOT physical, the driver will be asked to provide background on their medical history, including past surgeries, medications taken, and history of health conditions.
- Vitals Test
Vitals testing includes measuring the person’s pulse, height, weight, and blood pressure. The FMCSA also requires a urinalysis test, which looks at the protein, blood, and sugar in a urine sample to rule out underlying medical problems.
- Vision Test
The FMSCA also requires vision testing to ensure drivers meet the standard of at least 20/40 vision acuity in each eye, with or without correction (glasses or contacts), and at least a 70 degree field of vision in a horizontal meridian.
- Hearing Test
Drivers may receive a whisper test of their hearing. During this test, the examiner will record the distance from the driver at which a forced whispered voice can be heard.
Hearing can also be evaluated through an audiometry test. An audiometry test is a way to measure the ability to hear sounds at different frequencies, to determine if the driver has experienced hearing loss.
- Physical Examination
During a physical examination, the examiner will first evaluate the general physical appearance for things such as obesity and other medical conditions, and then examine the various bodily systems, including heart, lungs, extremities, the neurological system, and more.
How to Prepare for a DOT Physical at Northern Medical Center
In general, the DOT physical itself should take approximately 45 minutes, so be sure to plan accordingly. Before arriving for a DOT physical, it is important to gather the necessary information and documents to bring.
You should bring:
- A valid driver’s license
- List of current medications
- List of past surgeries and medical conditions
- List of any allergies
- Most recent DOT certificate, if renewing your certificate
Additionally, if you have any pre-existing conditions that require additional paperwork, you should bring the necessary documentation. Examples of additional documentation include a copy of a stress test or echocardiogram for those with a Coronary Disease, or completed medical exemptions for vision, hearing, or seizure disorders.
Obtaining Your Certificate
If the Medical Examiner determines that you are qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with the physical qualification standards, the Medical Examiner will complete and provide you with a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) Form MCSA-5876.
How Long is the Certificate Valid For?
A DOT physical exam is valid for up to 24 months. However, the medical examiner may also issue a medical examiner’s certificate for less than 24 months when it is desirable to monitor a condition, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea.