What is a DOT Physical?
Health and safety are important no matter where you go. One such place that is often taken for granted is the road. Anyone who operates a vehicle takes on a great responsibility and should be physically up to the task. This goes especially for commercial drivers. There are approximately 3.5 million commercial truck drivers in the United States, and they all have a health standard to meet and maintain. Commercial drivers in the US are required by the Department of Transportation to be evaluated for readiness on the road. This DOT physical is a major checkpoint for anyone that wants to be a professional truck driver, as it ensures that the driver is in fact healthy enough to operate the large vehicles used in the job. Driving commercial vehicles does require more of a driver than a standard vehicle, so it’s important that the drivers are adequately prepared with a physical that evaluates their condition.
The physical is required when a driver’s job includes operating a vehicle with one of the following qualifications:
- – Combined gross vehicle weight is equal to or greater than 10,001 lbs.
- – Is used to carry 9-15 passengers including the driver for compensation
- – Is used to carry a number of passengers equal to or greater than 16, regardless of compensation
- – Is used as a hazmat transport for quantities that require hazmat regulation placarding
A DOT physical utilizes several different tests to inform the examination of a driver and their readiness for the road. These tests include tests of vision, hearing, and drug use as well as the driver’s vitals, a standard physical exam, and a review of the driver’s medical history. Discovery of certain issues can encourage a limited or probationary approval on the DOT physical, such as but not limited to sleep disorders and issues with high blood pressure. Barring any of the complications that one may have during said exam, a driver can be approved to drive for up to 24 months; the DOT physical goes a long way when it’s done right. Any driver knows that preparing with the right documentation and accurate information about their health will help them stay on the road for as long as possible. After all, that’s the goal of the physical: to get those drivers on the road!
As professional drivers, you are held to a higher standard than the other people on the road. At Crescent Clinic, we can help truck drivers in Columbia, SC prepare for that standard by providing all the testing needed to clear them for “take-off”. From the run-of-the-mill vision and hearing tests to the hands-on physical exam and the vitals check, we’ll check and make sure that your body is in the best shape it can be to hit the road. These tests are meant to keep in mind all the necessary minimums for drivers on the road, and the DOT requires that we check for them using the guidelines set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or the FMCSA. The FMCSA has set minimum requirements of vision, hearing, and bodily health to make sure that the people taking to the road are doing so in good health.
We also take the time to verify your medical history and to administer the additional necessary drug tests to make sure that you have every box checked. The Department of Transportation needs you in great health when you take on the responsibilities of a driver, so our physical helps make sure that you’re up to the task.
We urge you to take care of your bodies and to meet us at Crescent Clinic, where we can help you report for duty with confidence on the roads. As an FMCSA certified medical provider, we can assist you better than a regular clinic by ensuring a physical that is up to par with the needs of the DOT. Get the right exams done now and receive a one-way ticket to the road as a licensed commercial driver!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the minimum vision requirements for the DOT physical?
The FMCSA has a minimum requirement that drivers have 20/40 vision in each eye with or without correction. In addition, they require that a driver’s line of sight in each eye include a 70° horizontal field of vision. These requirements, in addition to the basic requirements of a standard vision test, make up the vision exam of a DOT physical for aspiring drivers.
Is the drug screen really not a part of the DOT physical?
The drug screen is not a part of the standard DOT physical. However, it is required for every driver by the FMCSA, and as such is routinely offered in tandem with the physical. The time and effort taken into ensuring one’s health will not mean much if a driver is unable to also test clean for the designated drugs of the screen.
Will I be disqualified for my medications?
While many medications are safe and sanctioned for use by drivers, many are considered hazards to commercial drivers. For this reason, many drivers may find themselves temporarily or permanently disqualified from DOT approval, depending on the medical history that is discovered during the physical. While some medications are deal-breakers, many simply require a temporary withholding of a CDL; after a probationary period of no more use, a driver can be re-approved to operate a vehicle pending another physical. The probationary period depends on the medication but can last up to 6 or 12 months if necessary.
What kind of drugs am I being tested for?
If you are able to participate in the DOT drug screen, you will be tested for several illicit or mind-altering substances that can affect a driver’s performance. Such substances include marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opioids of many varieties, and PCP. The discovery of such substances will prevent a driver from earning a clear rap sheet for the job in question, and the job will very likely be forfeit. It is recommended that a driver stay clear of these substances if wanting to pursue a job as a commercial vehicle operator.
DOT/CDL Physical Exam – $85
NRCME certified exam with laminated DOT medical card.
DOT Urine Drug Testing – $55
DOT-certified providers available Mon-Fri 8 am-5 pm
DOT Breath Alcohol Testing – $45
Breath Alcohol Testing performed by DOT-certified technician.
Third Party DOT Randomized Drug Testing
Services offered through TeamCME allow DOT-regulated companies to be compliant with DOT drug testing laws. Varies by size of company