DOT Physicals: What They Are, Why They’re Necessary and Where to Get Them
If you work for a company that, as a requirement of your job, requires you to drive a company vehicle, then you’re probably familiar with a DOT Physical Exam is. DOT, the acronym for Department of Transportation, Physicals are those that are required of commercial vehicle operators. These drivers must carry proof of having had this physical in the form of a DOT medical certificate at all times when driving commercial vehicles in order to remain in compliance with federal regulations.
What Type Commercial Vehicle Operators are Required to Have DOT Physicals?
Not all commercial vehicle operators are required to complete a DOT physical. Instead, there are a number of different factors that determine whether or not a commercial vehicle operator is required to complete one in order to be properly in compliance. Commercial drivers definitively required to pass a DOT physical are as follows:
- Those transporting specific quantities of hazardous materials
- Those driving commercial vehicles across state lines in the course of official business
- Those operating a commercial vehicle with a gross weight or combination weight of in excess of 10,000 pounds in the course of official business
- Those driving a commercial vehicle in excess of 75 miles from one’s workplace
- Those operating a commercial vehicle with a capacity in excess of 9 passengers in the course of official business
Factors That May Cause You to Not Pass Your DOT Physical
If you fit into one of the categories above, then you should visit Beyond Urgent Care to complete your DOT physical. When you arrive, you will be asked to complete a some paperwork, not all that different from what you would fill out upon visiting any doctor’s office. This includes presenting your driver’s license and filling out all your personal data like name, birthday, Social Security number, phone number and address. You then will complete a checklist letting your examiner (doctor) know about any medical conditions you have previously diagnosed with.
This section of the paperwork seeks to gain additional insight into potential risks you pose to yourself and others if you work in a professional capacity driving a commercial vehicle.
Therefore, the examiner will be particularly looking to see if you disclose any history of seizures, heart attacks, vision or hearing impairments, neurological disorders, psychiatric issues, loss of consciousness, stroke or paralysis among other conditions. While some of these conditions may ultimately lead you not to be issued a passing score, it’s important to disclose these conditions nevertheless.
That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that the mere disclosure of these conditions does not always lead to disqualification as is the case with those who are able to correct their vision impairments with glasses or contacts. However, a situation where there is a someone who is an insulin-dependent diabetic may automatically not pass the physical. Other precluding factors include addictions to drugs as well.
What the DOT Physical Entails
Once you’ve completed your DOT Physical Paperwork, your Beyond Urgent Care medical professional will go over your paperwork with you and discuss any chronic health conditions you may have that would impair your ability to operate a commercial vehicle safely. Each of these different health issues you discuss with the provider will be documented on your DOT physical form, which will play a role in whether DOT issues you the necessary medical certificate or not.
After a discussion of your paperwork has been completed, your federal certified DOT examiner, which must be either a doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant, will complete a physical exam paying special attention to your:
- Vision and hearing abilities
- Heart rate and blood pressure
- Abdominal or neurological abnormalities
- Potential hernias
- Respiratory system
Receiving Your DOT Medical Clearance Certificate
If you do not appear to have any particular outstanding medical concerns, then your certified DOT physical examiner will proceed to issue you a medical clearance certificate valid for two years. Alternatively, if the examiner is concerned about a lingering medical condition, they may only issue you a temporary certificate valid from anywhere between three months to a year pending further evaluation. There is the potential of not receiving a clearance at all, as previously discussed, as well.
If you are currently seeking or were recently hired for a role which requires you to drive a company vehicle; completing a DOT physical at Beyond Urgent Care is the place to come to have that done.