Preparing for Your DOT Physical

Driving a commercial vehicle is a major responsibility, so it’s not surprising there are special requirements in order to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all CDL holders to have a current medical examiner’s certificate, showing they’re healthy enough to operate their vehicle. In order to obtain that certificate, you need to have a DOT (Department of Transportation) physical.

DOT physicals can’t be performed by just any doctor. In order to perform the exams and complete the required documents, a doctor must have additional training, pass an exam, and be listed in the FMCSA’s physician registry.

As a leading occupational medicine practice, Coopersburg Family Practice in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, is a registered provider of DOT physicals. Our providers can perform the required exams and complete the necessary paperwork, so you can remain compliant with FMCSA regulations. If you have a DOT physical in your future, here’s how to prepare for it.

What to expect

DOT physicals are required for anyone who drives a commercial vehicle and has a commercial driver’s license. Individual states, including Pennsylvania, may also have other requirements in order to obtain and maintain a CDL. 

DOT physicals begin with a medical history, followed by a comprehensive physical exam. Your doctor will take your blood pressure, check your vision and hearing, and perform other tests and evaluations based on your health needs. You’ll also have a urinalysis, and you might have blood tests or an electrocardiogram.

Once you pass your physical, you’ll receive a medical examiner’s certificate that’s valid for two years, in most cases. In some situations, though, you may need testing every year. For example, if you have a chronic condition — such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes — you may need yearly testing.

Furthermore, if you have a condition that requires ongoing treatment — such as very high blood pressure — you might need to be tested even more often to ensure your treatment is effective.

Information you’ll need to bring

In order to complete your exam, you’ll have to bring a copy of the DOT physical exam form, which is available here. You can fill out your information ahead of time. If you do, you’ll need to follow the included instructions when filling out the form and leave the second section for the doctor to fill in.

In addition to your DOT form, you’ll also likely need to bring the following:

When you make your appointment, our team will review the list of items you should bring with you. You should also be ready to discuss any medical issues or concerns you have, so they can be addressed during your appointment.

The DOT physical exam isn’t complicated, but because paperwork is involved, you should try to schedule your exam at least 30 days before your current certificate expires. If you’re ready to schedule your DOT exam, book an appointment over the phone with Coopersburg Family Practice today.

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