Commercial driving is a physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding occupation. To ensure commercial drivers are healthy and fit to be navigating the roadways, they need to have a Department of Transportation (DOT) medical card to show for it. This card is a prerequisite to getting a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Let’s talk a little bit more about why you need a DOT medical card and how to get one.
What Is a DOT Medical Card?
Simply put, a DOT medical card is an essential certification document given to drivers who operate commercial vehicles. Before you can get it, you need to undergo a DOT physical exam administered by a qualified medical examiner first.
A DOT medical card is only valid for a maximum of 2 years, after which a renewal will be necessary. However, should the medical examiner see a need to monitor an individual driver’s condition, they may issue a card that is valid for less than that amount of time.
Why You Need a DOT Medical Card
Compliance with the Law
Every commercial driver in the United States is required by law, specifically by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), to have a DOT medical card. Noncompliance can lead to a fine or the cancellation of your CDL. Furthermore, your employment opportunities in the transportation industry will be limited without a DOT medical card.
To Ensure Safety on the Road
All drivers should be in good physical condition to drive, but even more so if they are operating a commercial vehicle. That’s because these vehicles may:
- Weight 10,000 pounds or more
- Be hauling potentially hazardous materials
- Carry 15 passengers or more
The main purpose of a DOT medical card is to ensure that you are healthy enough to drive a commercial vehicle on public roadways.
It’s an opportunity to Monitor Your Health
It is recommended for every individual, whether they drive or not, to regularly monitor their overall health. Thus, being required to get a DOT medical card offers you a good opportunity to do just this.
To get a DOT medical card, you typically need to have the following assessed:
- Medical history
- Illegal substance consumption
- Vision and hearing
- Neurological function
- Circulatory and urinary function
- Orthopedic capacity
Disqualifying conditions may include substance abuse, diabetes, hypertension, vision and/or hearing impairment, neurological incapacities, and more.
How Do You Get a DOT Medical Card?
Contact a Qualified Medical Examiner
To get a DOT medical card, you need to be examined first by a qualified medical examiner. A medical professional qualified to administer DOT physicals and distribute DOT medical cards will be listed in the FMCSA National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
Get a DOT Physical
Your medical examiner will conduct your DOT physical exam to ensure you are in the best physical condition for a commercial driving career. If you are not, you will either be disqualified from getting a DOT medical card or provided with one under certain limitations and limitations.
When going to your DOT physical appointment, make sure to bring your medical records with you as well as any physical aids you currently need. Depending on your medical history, you may be required to undergo a further assessment.
Submit the DOT Medical Card to the DMV
Once you obtain your DOT medical card, you are required to submit it to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. You can do this by going in person or by sending it by fax or email.
Remember to submit your medical card to the DMV as soon as it is provided to you by your medical examiner. Most states’ DMV departments set a specified range of time after which your DOT medical card will no longer be valid for submission.
Follow Renewal Guidelines
Your DOT medical card will expire after 2 years, under normal circumstances. Hence, you should be aware of your state’s renewal guidelines, since they can vary from state to state. If you develop any disqualifying medical condition within those 2 years, inform your physician to keep your records updated. It is recommended that you get a new DOT physical before your current medical card expires – so there is no interruption in your ability to drive a commercial vehicle.
Getting a DOT Medical Card in King, NC
Are you looking for work as a commercial vehicle driver in King, North Carolina? Look no further than Cardinal Urgent Care for your DOT physical exam. We have a team of friendly and experienced physicians who can offer you a variety of services, including occupational medicine and DOT physicals.
To get a DOT medical card, we’d love it if you would schedule an appointment through our online request form in advance. You may also contact us by calling (336) 983-9111. We believe in ensuring the health and safety of those who navigate our roadways, and we look forward to becoming your trusted healthcare provider.