The Department of Transportation requires those who drive commercial vehicles to have a physical exam on a regular basis. Knowing why these exams are needed and what to expect from them can help you prepare for your appointment.
Importance of DOT Physicals
Why does the DOT have a physical exam requirement? Having commercial drivers undergo these physicals helps ensure that they’re in good condition and can operate their vehicle safely. Driving commercial vehicles comes with certain risks and demands, especially for those who drive large tractor-trailers and those who put in a lot of hours on the road. Making sure that these drivers are physically healthy makes them less of a risk to themselves and other drivers on the road. These physical exams can help doctors detect any health issues that might cause difficulty driving or increase the risk of being in an accident.
What to Expect from DOT Physicals
Before you go for your DOT physical, you’ll need to provide personal and medical information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, contact information and driver’s license number. You’ll also need to state if you have certain medical conditions, such as neurological disorders, hearing loss, vision problems, heart disease or chronic pain, and provide a list of medications that you take.
When you go for your exam, keep in mind that only qualified medical examiners are able to conduct it. These can be physicians, nurse practitioners or physician’s assistants. During the exam, your examiner goes over your medical history and checks your vitals, such as your blood pressure and heart rate. You can also expect to have a vision test to determine whether or not you have impaired vision and need corrective lenses. The DOT requires commercial vehicle drivers to have a minimum of 20/40 vision in both eyes, which can include corrective eyewear, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses.
During your DOT exam, your examiner will also check your ears, along with your throat and mouth, to look for signs of potential health issues that need treatment. Your examiner will also do a neurological exam, look over your skin and general appearance for any signs of health problems and check your heart and lungs. You can also expect to have your spine checked for deformities or abnormalities that could make it difficult for you to sit comfortably in a vehicle for extended periods of time. Your examiner will also check your abdomen for abnormalities and do a hernia check.
After Your DOT Physical
When your physical is done, your examiner lets you know if you meet the required standards for a medical certificate. If you have a condition that requires close monitoring, your certificate might only be valid for a few months or up to one year. Otherwise, your certificate will be valid for two years.
To stay up-to-date on your physical exams and get the most from each exam, please contact us at PrimeCare Urgent Care to set up an appointment.