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Department of Transportation (DOT) Physical Examinations 

Understanding DOT Physicals

            DOT stands for Department of Transportation Physical, and it is a medical examination mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for commercial vehicle drivers. The sole purpose of a DOT physical is to determine if a commercial driver is mentally, emotionally, and physically fit to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). If you want to drive large commercial vehicles for a living, you will need a CDL, or commercial driver’s license and a valid DOT medical certificate. The medical certificate is issued by a certified medical examiner once you have passed the DOT physical, which you will need to have again every 1-2 years for the duration of your career. The process of getting your DOT physical and medical certificate is straightforward, many people feel confused and lost. In the upcoming paragraphs, we will cover each aspect of the physical exam, how to pass your DOT examination, and required documents to bring with you to your examination. Commercial vehicle drivers (CMV) are required to obtain a DOT physical if they transport hazardous materials, operate a vehicle that carries more than 15 people like a school bus, paid to operate a vehicle that carries more than 8 people, and operate a vehicle with a gross combined weight of more than 10,001 lbs.


What to expect at your visit

            The components of a DOT physical include health history, vision, hearing, and blood pressure. A urinalysis is also performed to test for glucose, blood, and sugar in the urine. The urinalysis does not test for drugs, that is your employer’s responsibility. Proper preparation for your DOT physical helps increases the probability of qualification and successfully passing. If you are young, active and in good health there is little you need to do to prepare. However, if you live a more sedentary lifestyle and are overweight or dealing with a health issue, you want to make sure you come prepared. During the examination, you will be asked to provide a urine sample. The medical examiner will then look at your health history. They will then measure weight and check your blood pressure. After that, the medical examiner will do a general assessment of your physical health, like general appearance, muscle test, and reflexes. Once the examination is over, the certified medical examiner will make the decision to either qualify or disqualify the patient. 

What do I need to bring?

            To ensure success and increase passing rate of your DOT physical exam, it is important you bring necessary documentation. Documents to bring include medical records from any specialists or primary care, most recent HgA1C levels if you are diabetic, corrective lenses like glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids if you are required to use them when driving and a list of any prescription medication you are taking including dosage. If you would like to pre-fill a medical examination report form prior to coming to your visit, you may do so. Forms can be found online on our website. There are certain conditions that may cause you to fail your DOT examination. These include extremely high blood pressure (i.e 180/100), high blood sugar (levels above 11), and uncorrected vision or hearing. However, failing a DOT examination does not mean the end of your driving career. In most cases, minor lifestyle changes and improving quality of health can get you back on the road. The DOT examination goal is not to trick you or confuse you, it is making sure that you are not a liability or hazard on the road.


For fast, affordable and convenient examination, patients can call during patients’ hours to be seen by Dr. Mohamad Zraik at Chiro-Med, S.C.  If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, visit the “Contact Us” page on our website at or call 262-542-4700