If you work with any public transportation systems in the US, perhaps you would be aware of the importance of the Department of Transportation (DOT) physical tests. Mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), these tests are conducted to ensure your as well as your passengers’ safety. These tests are performed to check your ability to meet the different physical requirements of the job. This includes working behind a wheel for a long time with minimal fatigue or the ability to sit or stand for a long time. The commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver’s license is issued to only those who clear these tests. If you have been told to take this test, perhaps, there would be several questions on your mind. This post aims to answer all important questions you may have regarding DOT physical tests.

Who needs to have a DOT Physical?

DOT physical test is recommended to commercial motor vehicle drivers who are or may be required to operate:

  1. Vehicles that transport more than eight people at a time such as cabs or minibuses
  2. Large vehicles with more than fifteen people at a time such as public transportation systems
  3. Heavy-duty motor vehicles with a gross combination weight of 10,000 pounds
  4. Vehicles used for transporting toxic and hazardous materials

Do I Need to Take the DOT Physical Test Every Year?

The DOT Physical certificate is usually valid for two years. However, if you have high or low blood pressure or other underlying health condition then you may receive a certificate with one-year validity. Drivers with high levels of blood pressure or some treatable health conditions are initially handed with a three-month certificate. They may receive a one- or two-year certificate if their health condition improves.

What Type of Tests Are Performed Under DOT Physical?

The following are the types of tests performed under DOT Physical.

  1. Vision: The commercial drivers must have 20/40 acuity in both eyes. This is measured with or without correction.
  2. Blood Pressure/Pulse Rate: The person is checked for irregular heartbeats and blood pressure.  
  3. Hearing: The person must be able to hear a forced whisper at a distance of at least 5 feet without or with a hearing aid.
  4. Urinalysis: A person is subjected to this test to analyze any underlying medical condition.
  5. Physical Examination: It refers to a broad range of tests performed on a person. Starting from general appearance to eyes, mouth, throat, ears, heart, lungs and chest, abdomen, viscera, spine, and so on. A person may also be subjected to neurological tests to check on equilibrium, ataxia, speech coordination, asymmetric deep tendon reflexes, and so on.

Before performing these tests, you are required to fill the detailed health history form wherein you need to mention the regular or intermittent medications, surgeries performed in the past, regular use of alcohol, tobacco, or substances, and health symptoms or conditions that you may currently have. You may fill the form on the location or fill it prior depending on your convenience.

What if I Develop Some Health Condition After Clearing DOT Physical?

If you develop some health condition later, after clearing DOT Physical, then it is always recommended to stop performing your duties and get it treated. If you are ignoring your health and continuing with your job there are chances that you are endangering your life as well as others who depend on you to be ferried to their destination safely.  

Do I Need to Take Precautions Before DOT Physical?

Maintaining your health in good condition is one of the pre-requisites for this test. Here are some steps that you can take to ensure good health.

  1. Avoid drugs, alcohol, and substances that may hamper your health
  2. Consume only those medicines that are prescribed by your doctor
  3. Check if any medications that you take have any effect on your blood sample or other body parameters
  4. Avoid taking excessive salty and sugary foods, which may alter your blood pressure and blood glucose levels
  5. Avoid excessive vaping or smoking
  6. Follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly

If you are considering DOT Physical test for your job requirements, it is important to partner with trusted third-party services like MedWay OHS. We support our clients with various types of physical tests and drug tests. You can talk to our DOT Physical experts today for more information on these tests.

Medway OHS