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What are the DOT physical requirements?

The best way to understand the DOT Physical requirements is to go through the checklist that the medical examiner goes through to conduct the physical exam. Here is a link to the FMCSA Medical Examination Report form.

We’ve compiled a shortened version from FMCSA Rules and Regulations here. If you want to see the long, official legalese version here is a link to FMCSA Part 391.41.

Does a DOT physical include a drug test?

Drug testing is not part of a DOT Physical exam but your Company may request to have drug alcohol testing done at the same time. DOT Drug Testing and breath alcohol testing are additional charges.

What drugs are tested for, if a DOT drug test is requested?

The 5 Panel drug test analyzes urine for the following drugs:

  • Marijuana (THC metabolite)
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Opiates (including heroin)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

What’s involved in a DOT physical?

The process is pretty straight forward. We can complete your physical in 30 minutes.

After you complete and sign your medical history form or “long form” a.k.a (Medical Examination Report For Commercial Driver Fitness Determination), a complete physical examination including vision, hearing, and blood pressure tests, will be performed by your certified medical doctor as per requirements of The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Why do I have to have a urine test?

The urine test is just a kidney screen to test for sugar and protein. It’s done to determine that there is no early onset of conditions like high blood pressure breaking down the kidneys, or early signs of diabetes, or kidney infection.

Can I obtain a copy of my DOT physical form?

Yes. We give you 2 copies of the long-form. One for the driver, one for the Company. If you need, we will fax the DOT form to your company. The examining doctor keeps a copy of the form for our office records.

Can the DOT medical card be laminated?

Yes. We laminate your DOT medical card for you. Because you need to keep it with you at all times while you’re driving, lamination helps to reduce the wear and tear on the card.

How long is a DOT medical card good for?

A DOT medical card is good for two years if you have no restrictions. A history of high blood pressure, taking high blood pressure medications, and/or taking oral medications for diabetes can restrict the medical card to one year.

How many 3-month DOT medical cards can you have?

One only. You should have the condition, which caused the restriction, under control by the end of the 3-month window.

Is there a difference between a DOT medical and a DOT physical?

No. These terms are used interchangeably. They are most often referred to as a DOT medical when referring to the DOT medical card, and DOT physical when referring to the DOT physical exam, and sometimes drivers refer to them as a CDL physical or CDL medical.

If I don’t have medical insurance can I still get a DOT physical?

Yes. You do not need medical insurance to get a DOT Physical. Insurance is not a part of our DOT Physical exam service. Payment for the exam is your responsibility at time of service. Some insurance companies treat this exam as preventative health care and will not reimburse for it. If you have insurance and want to claim reimbursement we can give you a receipt to submit to your insurance company.

How much does a DOT physical cost without insurance?

We charge the same price whether you have insurance or not. Payment for our DOT Physical service is $70 and payment options are cash, credit card, money order, bank checks or pre-authorized company account.

How do overweight truck drivers pass the DOT physical?

Being overweight is not a restriction to passing the DOT Physical exam. It is the medical conditions that being overweight eventually leads to, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease, that may affect your ability to safely drive a commercial vehicle. That is what the DOT Physical exam will determine – whether you have any of these restrictive medical conditions. Getting healthy and staying healthy is your best guarantee for your life and your livelihood.

What are the DOT physical blood pressure requirements?

Here are the medical guidelines according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Note that employers are allowed to impose more stringent medical requirements.

  • A driver with a BP of less than 140 systolic and less than 90 diastolic may be medically certified to drive for a two-year period.
  • A driver with a BP of 140 – 159 systolic and /or a BP of 90-99 diastolic, has stage 1 hypertension, and may be medically certified to drive for a one-yearperiod. Certification examinations should be done annually thereafter and should be at or less than 140/90.
  • A driver with a a BP of 160-179 systolic and/or a BP of 100-109 diastolic, has stage 2 hypertension, and is a candidate for antihypertensive drug therapy. The driver is given a one-time certification of three months to reduce his or her blood pressure to less than or equal to 140/90. Provided treatment is well tolerated and the driver demonstrates a BP value of 140/90 or less, he or she may be re-certified for one year from the date of the initial exam. The driver is certified annually thereafter.
  • A driver with a BP at or greater than 180 systolic and / or 110 diastolic has stage 3 hypertension and is disqualified. The driver may not be qualified, even temporarily, until blood pressure is reduced to equal to or less than 140/90 and treatment is well tolerated. The driver may be certified for 6 months and biannually (every 6 months) thereafter if at recheck BP is equal to or less than 140/90.
  • Drivers with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, or kidney disease require treatment if their blood pressure rises above 130/80, since they already have a high risk of heart disease. See our article on “High Blood Pressure: Commercial Driver Risk?” for more information.

Can a driver with mild sleep apnea get a CDL in Texas?

Obstructive sleep apnea does not necessarily disqualify you for a DOT medical card. Treatment with a CPAP machine and some basic lifestyle changes can help you get a restful sleep and maintain your commercial drivers license. For more information on what is currently required for DOT physical certification see our news article “Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Commercial Driver Risk?”

What are the truck driving vision requirements?

A commercial driver must have distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 in each eye. That means without corrective lenses, or with corrective lenses, you must be able to see 20/40 or better, with each eye individually as well as together. Your field of vision should be at least 70 degrees horizontally, and you must be able to recognize the standard traffic signal colors of red, green and amber.

What would cause me to fail a DOT physical?

Over all the years we’ve been working with drivers, the biggest cause for concern we see is high blood pressure. Another concern is uncontrolled sugar in the urine. There are ways you can manage your blood pressure and blood sugar. See our tips to prepare for your DOT physical.

Any condition that would cause a loss of ability to control, operate, or drive a commercial vehicle safely – loss or impairment of limbs, poor visual acuity, insulin-controlled diabetes, high blood pressure (more than 180/110), heart disease, respiratory dysfunction, epilepsy, mental disorder, use of certain drugs, alcoholism. See a complete list of FMCSA rules and regulations.

What if the DOT drug screen tests positive?

If the urinalysis is positive for one or more of the drugs on the 5 panel drug test, then the driver will be contacted in person by the Medical Review Officer. The MRO will interview the driver to determine if there is an alternative medical explanation for the drugs found in the urine specimen. If the driver provides appropriate documentation, a confirmation test is performed for each identified drug using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis. GC/MS confirmation ensures that over-the-counter medications or preparations are not reported as positive results. If the MRO determines that it is a legitimate medical use of the prohibited drug, the drug test result is reported as negative to the employer. Otherwise the drug test will be reported as positive.

Do I need a medical card if I’m a local driver?

We’ll answer this question as it pertains to the state of Texas, as we’re located in Tyler. For other states please check with the motor carrier division of your state. For Texas the full documentation is available at the Motor Carrier Division Texas DOT.
In summary, a driver qualifies under TXDOT, and must carry a valid medical card, if driving a commercial vehicle that:

  • Has a gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport more than 8 persons for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport more than 15 persons not for compensation
  • Is used in transporting hazardous material

Who can I contact to set up an appointment for a CDL Physical in Texas?
Walk-ins are welcome, but to ensure we’ll be available at the time you want, call 903-561-6676 to set up an appointment with us for your DOT Physical exam.
Hours: Monday to Thursday 8:00am-12:00pm & 2:00pm-6:00pm Friday 8:00am-10:00am