What is a DOT Physical? – West Texas Injury Prevention

What is a DOT Physical?

DOT (Department of Transportation) physical guidelines are a strict set of guidelines that govern who can be awarded and maintain a CDL. A commercial drivers license requires that DOT physical certification is issued.

New DOT physical requirements for 2014 include a stricter look at blood pressure and a more rigorous approach to medical waivers. DOT physical requirements require all around good health.

DOT physical certification requires that anyone that works for a trucking company or is starting a trucking school is able to pass the requirements. There are special circumstances where certification can be issued even if the physical requirements are not met but that area is becoming harder and harder to make the cut.

The Physical

The day of the physical the candidate will be required to fill out a medical history. The history form takes special interest in current conditions like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

It is always best to be honest about any medications you are taking to control any of the above. You will be subjected to a drug screening so if you are on medication you should just list it.

The physical will look at several areas closely:

  • Blood pressure levels
  • Hearing
  • Sight
  • Reflexes

DOT physical blood pressure rules are very strict. If your blood pressure is elevated on the day of the exam you may not get your DOT physical certification. Depending on how high it is elevated you may be able to get a temporary certification that will be good for 3 months so that you have the opportunity to get things under control. Unfortunately if it is over 181 systolic and 91 diastolic you will not be eligible for the three month grace period. In either case to be reconsidered you will have to provide a complete Cardiovascular work up from a qualified physician to get your DOT physical certification.

Your hearing will be tested to ensure that you can hear within the normal range. Your vision will also be tested (corrective lens are fine make sure you wear them the day of the test).

Reflexes are also tested as well to make sure that you can sit through the physical rigors of commercial truck driving!

New DOT physical requirements are a bit more in depth than they have been in previous years and they do not allow for as many passes as they have before.


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