You are presenting to American Family Care (AFC) to have your DOT physical exam and certification process performed. There have been many recent changes in the certification process and tougher requirements that must be met in order to be certified. Below is a list of things you can do prior to presenting to the clinic for your exam that will make the process go smoother and get you back safely on the road! You will also be required to sign a Patient Acknowledgement form stating that you understand the medical and financial requirements before signing in and being seen by the provider.
The requirements to get a DOT physical have changed and are now tougher.
- Many drivers who previously passed with no problems may now have difficulty passing a new physical exam.
- This is because the federal government has imposed new guidelines which medical examiners are required to follow.
- The DOT physical is not a replacement for the routine yearly medical checkup everyone should get regularly.
- AFC will gladly perform your routine medical checkups as well, but this is a separate visit from your DOT physical.
Things to bring to your DOT exam:
- Bring your current state Driver’s License
- Bring your glasses, contacts, or anything you routinely use for vision.
- Bring a list of your Past Medical History.
- Bring a list of all doctors and specialists you see and a list of their addresses and phone numbers, in case we need to contact them for information.
- Bring all prescription bottles or a list of all current medications, and any over the counter medications that you take.
Prior to examination:
- Take all of your required medications as prescribed prior to your visit, including blood pressure medications.
- Drink plenty of water. You will need to provide a urine sample to screen for kidney problems.
Basic requirements for passing a DOT physical exam:
- At least 20/40 correctable vision in each eye as well as both combined. Glasses or contacts are allowed.
- Must be able to distinguish colors found on traffic signals.
- Forced whisper test to detect adequate hearing.
- Controlled blood pressure according to the FMCSA guidelines.
- Max blood sugar level of 200, and will need a waiver if on insulin.
- Many drivers may need exemptions for vision, diabetes, sleep apnea, cardiac issues, etc. These exemptions should be brought with you to this medical exam.
Requirements for Most Common Medical Chronic Medical Conditions:
- Diabetes: Bring all of your medications and the name of your prescribing doctor. Also, bring with you a copy of your blood sugar results over the last 3 month and a recent hemoglobin A1C.
- High blood pressure: Bring all your medications and the name of your prescribing doctor.
- Heart conditions:
- If you have ever had a Heart Attack: You will need to bring your most recent Exercise Tolerance Test, performed 4-6 weeks after the initial heart attack then every 2 years.
- If you have had Open Heart Surgery: You will need your most recent Echocardiogram result and Exercise Tolerance Test – must be within one year, then an Exercise Tolerance test in 5 years, then yearly thereafter.
- If you have been diagnosed with Heart Failure: You will need to bring your current Echocardiogram result and Exercise Tolerance Test. These tests will need to be performed within the past year.
- Post Coronary Intervention (most common: stents placed in heart): Exercise Tolerance Test in first 3-6 months after procedure, then every 2 years
**Any patient with cardiac problems should bring a letter from your cardiologist stating that your heart problems will not negatively affect your ability to safely drive a commercial motor vehicle.
- COPD: Most recent Spirometry test.
- Obesity: If your BMI is greater than 30.0 the examiner might require a sleep apnea test prior to passing depending on clinical findings and examination.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Bring a copy of your latest sleep study results and a letter from your Pulmonologist stating that your Sleep Apnea is under good control and does not negatively affect your ability to safely drive a commercial motor vehicle.
- Other Chronic Medical Problems for which you see a Specialist: Bring all your medications and a letter from each Specialist stating that:
“I treat Mr./Mrs. _______ for _______ and in my professional medical opinion, the patient is well controlled and their diagnosis does not negatively affect their ability to safely drive a commercial motor vehicle.”
Passing or Failing the DOT exam:
- The most common reasons for being disqualified on a DOT physical are:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Uncontrolled sugar in the urine
- Use of prohibited medications
NOTE: All of these conditions can commonly be controlled and managed.
- Other reasons for failing a DOT exam can involve having any condition that would cause a loss of the ability to operate a commercial vehicle safely, including the loss or impairment of limbs, poor vision, monocular vision, insulin-controlled diabetes, neuropathy, high blood pressure, heart disease, epilepsy, mental disorders or use of certain drugs.
- DOT medical cards historically have been issued for 2 years. However, your medical examiner may issue a card for one year (or even less), if you have a medical condition that requires monitoring, such as hypertension.
- Sometimes a medical examiner may issue you a 3-month medical card and have you return for further follow-up, to be sure that your medical issue is now controlled.
- Sometimes your examiner may have to order additional testing or records to ensure you are approved to drive.
- Drug testing is not a typical part of the DOT exam but may be required by your employer.
We want to help you pass and get back on the road!