Why are DOT Physicals required?

Written by J. Sundberg

Long hours on the road can be both physically and mentally exhausting, so it’s important to detect physical and mental health issues in commercial drivers before they arise. It’s a matter of public safety. That’s why commercial motor vehicle drivers are required by federal law to receive regular physical exams.

Because of strict guidelines from the Department of Transportation, only certified medical examiners are permitted to perform DOT Physical exams. All Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine providers are certified medical examiners (CMEs) with locations across Colorado’s Denver-metro area.

DOT Physical Requirements

The physical examination assesses the driver for conditions including:

  • Vision problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Behavioral health / mental health
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Diabetes / other endocrine issues
  • Hearing issues
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Medical issues due to alcohol or drug abuse
  • Potential for stroke
  • Chronic pain
  • Brain injuries or other neurological issues
  • Epilepsy or seizure issues
  • Underlying heart disease
  • Respiratory (breathing) issues

The driver will also perform basic medical exams including:

Blood pressure measurement

High blood pressure can put you at risk for a variety of health problems. It puts strain on your heart and arteries and can cause heart attack or stroke.

Vision check

Aside from a vision test, the provider will also be looking for proper eye dilation and appropriate movement.

Hearing test

Hearing loss is a common problem, especially as we get older. It’s important for commercial drivers to be able to hear things like emergency sirens while on the road.

Urinalysis for glucose levels

Urinalysis is necessary to check the driver for medical conditions like diabetes.

What happens after the exam?

After the driver passes the physical exam, their certification is good for two years. That is, unless they have an exemption—a health status that won’t keep them from driving but may necessitate more frequent physical exams.

The driver will receive a copy of the Medical Examiner’s Certificate and their DOT Physical forms will be sent electronically to the Department of Transportation.

Where to get a DOT Physical

DOT Physicals can be completed at occupational medicine clinics, including at one of Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine’s locations. As an added convenience, the exams can be completed on a walk-in basis.

Do you need DOT Physicals for the drivers at your company? Our occupational health experts can help you get started today.