First Choice Immediate Care Offers DOT Department Of Transportation Physicals
Do You Need A DOT Physical?
If you personally are designated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) as ‘safety sensitive’, then it means your job is something that not only can impact your own safety but that of the surrounding public. It means you have to get a routine physical in order to stay in compliance and keep working legally. This also might apply not to you but those who work for you. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, sets stringent guidelines for DOT physicals, which ensure that CDL drivers and related safety-sensitive laborers stay fit and ready for workplace safety.
The federal DOT sets these strict guidelines which are then enforced at a state level, with slight variations in each state. The process is equally overwhelming in most states though. If you’re looking for an overview of this process, keep reading into the following subsections to learn why it’s necessary, what’s involved, and how to go about getting your DOT physical.
Who Has To Get A DOT Physical?
The general purpose behind a DOT physical is making sure that CDL drivers are safe to be out on the roads and highways. So, if you drive most any commercial vehicle, you would likely have to get the DOT physical and then carry your DOT medical certificate. Keep in mind that the definition of commercial vehicle isn’t just any vehicle used for business purposes though, so if you’re delivering pizzas, this won’t apply. On the other hand, if you operate any vehicle holding from 9 to 15 passengers, you might. Also, if the vehicle is for intended commerce across state lines or your drive in excess of 75 miles from where you physically report for work, it can apply. The transportation of hazardous materials above particular quantities often counts. The concept of interstate commerce purposes or intentions can also apply for any vehicle/weight combination or rating exceeding 10,001 pounds, even if state lines are not crossed.
What Are The General CDL Requirements?
Even before you bother with a DOT physical, you need to be qualified to get a CDL in the first place. That means you are 21 or older with a valid personal driver’s license in the United States. Your last 5 years are free of DUI for anything alcohol or drug related, and you can pass the DOT drug screen. If all this applies, then you’ll likely undergo a DOT physical in your early days of CDL training. Only select medical examiners are approved for a DOT physical. For any information not covered in this content, visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov for additional requirements and details.
DOT Physical Drug Testing:
As part of the process, there is a drug screening requirement involved, usually conducted at your CDL training facility. The drug test will look for illegal drug use including but not limited to PCP, opiates, amphetamines, cocaine, and marijuana. Even though marijuana is technically legal in some states, it is still illegal at a federal level. Also expect random drug and alcohol testing throughout your employment.
The Driver Health History Portion Of Your Form:
You’ll have a DOT physical form that has to be filled out throughout the process. One section you might get asked to do in advance is the driver health history. That will include basic identification information like your name, address, driver’s license number, telephone number, and Social Security number. Another section will cover your medical history asking about cases of chronic pain, spinal cord injuries, missing limbs, stroke, paralysis, and psychiatric disorders. Other things you need to mention include episodes of dizziness or fainting, digestive issued, impaired vision, kidney disease, heart disease, heart attack, and loss of hearing. You’ll also need to write down any neurological disorders and brain injuries, as well as episodes of seizures or epilepsy.
Answer every question fully and truthfully. If you don’t you run the risk of substantial future legal consequences.
What Should You Bring To Your DOT Physical?
On top of filling out the health history questionnaire before your visit, you should bring other related items and documentation. This can include anything related to your hearing aids, contacts, or eyeglasses. Diabetics might need blood sugar logs and the most recent HgA1C lab results. Any driver with heart issues may minimally need a certified letter from their cardiologist.
The Actual DOT Physical:
The actual DOT physical is going to cover you from head to toe. You’ll likely have to demonstrate a minimum of 20/40 visual acuity in both eyes, either without or with corrective lenses. You’ll also be measured for a minimum of 70″ peripheral across the horizontal meridian in both eyes.
In terms of hearing, you’ll have to show that you can identify a ‘forced whisper’ within 5 feet, although hearing aids are permitted. This is a standard that usually signifies typical hearing loss in your good ear of 40 dB or less.
Other specific factors measured include urinalysis, blood pressure, and pulse rate. This is all on top of the thorough physical examination which covers your eyes, ears, mouth, throat, lungs, chest, abdomen, and extremities.
Who Is Qualified To Handle The DOT Physical?
Only specific medical examiners certified directly by the FMCSA can conduct a DOT physical. Qualified examiners can include physicians, physician’s assistants, and nurse practitioners, and it often varies by state.
How Long Will Your Certification Last?
Drivers that meed or exceed the standards without needing routine monitoring are typically given certification for two years. Other certifications might last a year, six months, or only three months.
What Might Disqualify Me?
Requirements vary case by case, but potential automatic disqualifications might include high blood pressure, insulin injections, high blood sugar, cardiac issues, hernia, recent surgery, and loss of any limb. Sleep apnea is also a major issue given the nature of the work.