What To Expect When You Have A DOT Physical

25 May 2019
 Categories: , Blog


If you operate a commercial vehicle, it is very likely that you will need a DOT (department of transportation) physical. The DOT physical is a federal requirement, and if you do not have one, you can lose your commercial license. There are some specific items the doctor will check the results and will determine whether or not you are fit to operate a commercial vehicle or not.

Medical History

One of the first things the doctor will do is go over your medical history with you. They will have questions about your family history as well, so it is a good idea to bring past medical records and any information about family medical problems with you to your appointment. The doctor will use this information to determine if there is a risk factor that needs consideration during the physical. 

While your medical history does not mean you won't be able to get a DOT license, you may have to have some additional tests required before the doctor signs off on your medical history.

Vision Tests

Vision tests are an important part of the physical process. It is important that as a driver you can see to operate a commercial vehicle in any light or weather conditions. Like with your medical history, your vision does not have to be perfect, but it is important that your vision is correctable. Your vision tests will determine whether you have a condition that is going to be a problem or if glasses or contacts are enough to allow you to drive a commercial vehicle.

Blood Tests

The doctor will take some blood to test for medical conditions like high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, or diabetes. Depending on the condition and the severity of it, you may need further testing or just continued testing over time. There are times when the doctor will not want you driving, but in many cases, with medication to control the condition, you can have a yearly physical and still hold a commercial license. 

Urine Tests

You will have to have a urine test when you go in as well. This test is for some medical conditions, but it is also to determine if you have used illegal or mind-altering drugs. If you fail the drug screen, you will not be able to hold a commercial license. There is no margin on the drug test. You either pass or fail the test, so if you are on a prescription that you think could cause a false positive, talk to the doctor about it before you are tested.