A DOT physical, also known as a Department of Transportation physical examination, is a medical evaluation conducted in the United States to assess the physical and mental fitness of individuals who hold or are applying for commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). The examination is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
During a DOT physical, a certified medical examiner assesses various aspects of the individual’s health to ensure they meet the physical qualifications necessary for operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) safely. The examination includes a thorough review of the individual’s medical history, vital signs measurement (such as blood pressure and heart rate), vision and hearing tests, urine analysis, and a general physical examination. The medical examiner also evaluates the individual’s ability to perform essential job functions and may inquire about any existing medical conditions, medications, or previous surgeries.
The purpose of the DOT physical is to identify any health conditions or limitations that may interfere with a driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle. The FMCSA has established specific medical standards that drivers must meet, including requirements related to vision, hearing, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, diabetes management, and other health conditions. If a driver meets these standards, they are issued a Medical Examiner’s Certificate, which is valid for a specified period, typically up to two years.