Why DOT Physicals Are Completely Necessary

Truck Driver

Physicals are valuable examinations with a physician that can offer a patient an overview of their current health status. During these examinations, the physician has an opportunity to detect any abnormalities in the patient’s body, often leading to the early detection of certain conditions. A DOT physical is somewhat different from a regular checkup that a person may have when they visit a doctor.

DOT physicals are often advised for individuals who are employed in certain positions. Employees who are considered as safety-sensitive, which is a title that is designated by the Department of Transportation, all need to undergo a DOT physical on a regular basis. In this post, we consider what DOT physical involves and why it is so important for truck drivers.


What Is A DOT Physical and Why Is It Crucial For A Truck Driver?

A DOT physical is ordered by the Department of Transportation for employees considered to have a job that can have an impact on the safety of the public and the employee. Truck drivers have the responsibility to ensure they undergo a DOT physical frequently to ensure any type of health problems can be detected early on – ranging from hearing and vision problems, all the way to heart disease.

A DOT physical generally consists of five procedures in order to identify issues with various systems of the truck driver’s body. These procedures include:

  • Vision tests to ensure a minimum of 20/40 acuity in both eyes – this vision level is considered appropriate even with correction, such as prescription lenses, being worn.
  • Hearing tests to ensure the truck driver has the ability to hear at a distance of at least five feet through a “forced whisper test.” The truck driver is allowed to wear a hearing aid during this test.
  • Reading the truck driver’s pulse rate and measuring blood pressure will be done. This helps the physician performing the physical to identify an irregular heartbeat, as well as signs of hypertension.
  • A urine sample is taken for a urinalysis, which helps with the detection of certain underlying diseases. Diabetes is one such disease that can often be identified through a urinalysis.
  • A physical examination is also conducted, which will check for a large number of health issues, including cataracts, perforated eardrums, breathing and swallowing difficulties, impaired respiratory functions, an enlarged liver, and more.


A DOT physical is an important procedure for truck drivers, due to the long hours spent on the road and particular risks that these employees tend to face. These examinations ensure that the driver is in good health before they set out for a trip and should be conducted on a regular basis to assist in the early detection of diseases that might lead to complications, including road hazards, when not treated.