Do you want to drive large commercial vehicles, such as trucks or buses, for a living?
For that, you’ll need a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and a valid DOT medical card. And the only way to obtain the card is to pass a DOT physical, which you’ll need to take every 1-2 years for the duration of your commercial driving career. Getting a DOT physical ensures that you’re performing at your peak and that nobody else will be put at risk.
If this is your first time getting a DOT physical, you might wonder what to expect. Here are the steps involved in getting a DOT physical.
You can face serious penalties if you fail to comply with the strict DOT exams and requirements. So, it’s important to be familiar with the components of a DOT physical. It is necessary to verify that you don’t suffer from any serious medical conditions that might hinder you from safely operating a commercial vehicle. The exam needs to be conducted by a certified medical professional listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
During your physical, the examiner will assess the following:
- General Appearance
- Eyes (e.g., glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration)
- Ears (e.g., perforated ear drums, tympanic membrane scarring)
- Throat and mouth (e.g., swallowing or breathing problems)
- Heart (e.g., extra sounds, heart murmurs)
- Chest and lungs (e.g., respiratory conditions)
- Driver’s abdomen (e.g., muscle weakness, liver enlargement, visceral issues)
- Vascular system (e.g., abnormal pulse rates, varicose veins, carotid problems)
- Genitourinary system (e.g., hernias)
- Extremities (e.g., limb deformities or defects)
- Spine and musculoskeletal system
- Neurology (e.g., neurological impairments and reflexes)
If you’re physically fit and in good health, there’s very little you need to do to prepare. After all, it is simply a checkup to ensure you’re fit enough to operate a commercial vehicle.
But if you’re overweight, managing any health issues, or recovering from a serious condition, you’ll likely need to make additional preparations. Here are some good practices for anyone that is getting ready to take their DOT physical:
- Make healthy choices. Adopt a healthy routine as soon as you can – and at least 3 weeks before your DOT physical. Start eating healthy and being physically active. Make sure to get enough sleep every night as well.
- Bring all the necessary documents and paperwork. Prepare to bring all relevant medical records, including a list of your medications and health conditions.
- Be diligent in taking your medications. Take your medications at the right time and in the right dosage. Being inconsistent with or stopping your medications altogether might impact your results in the physical.
- Avoid unhealthy habits. Smoking, consuming sugary foods and drinks, and excessive caffeine intake are some habits you should try to avoid.
- Be honest when discussing your health history. Don’t embellish or withhold any information from your examiner. Be honest and consistent with the information you’ll provide them during your exam.
Here are some of the things you need to bring:
- Medical records
- Recent laboratory results if you have diabetes or similar conditions
- Glasses, contact lenses, or hearing aids if you need them to drive
- List of your current prescription medications and health conditions
You might also need forms that must be signed and returned to your employer. You will also be asked to fill out a health history questionnaire before your exam.
Certain health conditions may disqualify you from getting a CDL. These are conditions severe enough to disrupt your ability to safely operate a large commercial vehicle and may include diabetes, hernias, obesity, and sleep apnea.
If you have any of these conditions, one of the following may happen:
- The examiner will determine if you’re qualified to drive, despite the condition. You may still pass the exam if your condition isn’t serious enough to prevent you from safely driving in a professional capacity.
- You might be temporarily disqualified. In this case, you’ll need to retake the exam before a medical card can be issued.
- You may apply for an exemption. Some conditions can be exempted as long as you and your medical examiner believe you can still drive a commercial vehicle.
- You’ll apply for a Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) Certificate. If you have a missing or impaired limb, you’ll need an SPE to prove you can safely drive a commercial vehicle.
Getting a DOT physical will, of course, cost money. The price will vary depending on where you get it and whether or not you’ll be paying for it. The range can be anywhere from $50 to 300. But the good news is that most employers usually pay the cost!
DOT Physicals in King, NC
DOT physicals are crucial to helping to prevent accidents and protect public safety on the roadways. These examinations are important because they ensure you can safely perform the functions of your job.
Looking for DOT physicals in King, North Carolina? Here at Cardinal Urgent Care, our expert providers deliver the comprehensive and compassionate care you deserve. We are here to ensure that you‘re on the road, at peak performance levels. Call our friendly staff at (336) 983-9111 to learn about our services or book an appointment through our online request form.
We look forward to serving you!