DOT Physical Frequently Asked Questions

Where can a DOT medical card be obtained?

Interstate drivers: For CMV drivers who drive on the interstate, they must obtain a Federal medical certificate. This certificate will come from a medical examiner who is certified by the FMCSA National Registry.

Intrastate drivers: Each State individually determines if intrastate drivers must be examined by a certified medical examiner who is on the National Registry. In order to avoid extra work, it is recommended to use a registered certified medical examiner.

Can my personal doctor complete the DOT physical or is a special doctor required?

The requirements are often specific to the company who has hired the driver. The company may require the use of a specific company doctor for the wake forest DOT physical exam. However, in the event this is not required, any medical examiner who is certified on the FMCSA National Registry can provide the DOT physical.

Is there a difference between a Medical Examiner and a DOT Doctor?

These terms are actually used interchangeable and there is not a technical difference. The terms Medical Examiner, Certified Medical Examiner, and CME are all commonly used. Drivers are cannot obtain the DOT physical from any healthcare provider who is not a Certified Medical Examiner on the FMCSA National Registry.

How long does it take to obtain a medical certificate?

For most drivers, the DOT physical examination will take about 30-45 minutes to complete. Assuming the medical examiner does not have any medical concerns, they are able to certify the driver and issue the medical certificate following the exam. In cases where the medical examiner has concerns regarding a potential, current or medical condition from the past, additional testing or documentation may be required. If there are concerns or if additional testing is required, the medical examiner is unable to complete the DOT physical exam until the driver meets all requirements.

What all is involved in a DOT physical?

The DOT physical examination is considered a exam which verified “Medical Fitness for Duty”. The goal of exam is to ensure the daily tasks which are required of a commercial driver can be met without any safety concerns. The role of the medical examiner is to verify that the health of the CMV driver meets FMCSA standards.

When conducting the physical exam, the medical examiner is working to accurately answer the following two questions:

  1. Is the driver able to safely meet the physical and mental demands of the job currently, and for the next two years?
  2. Are there any past or current medical conditions which may impact the driver’s ability to meet the daily demands of their job?

The DOT physical is an incredibly thorough medical examination with the goal of determining if drivers are qualified and can safely operate a commercial vehicle.

What can cause a driver to fail a DOT physical?

Any condition or limitation which could result in the failure to safely control, operate, or drive a commercial vehicle can result in a failed physical. This can include things such as the loss or impairment of limbs, poor vision, poor hearing, diabetes controlled by insulin, high blood pressure, heart disease, respiratory dysfunction, epilepsy, mental disorders, drug use and alcohol abuse.

DOT physicals are an extensive examination. Anything which can cause a driver to fail, such as a disease, disorder, injury, or medication, is taken serious as it can present a risk to both the driver and the others on the road.

When completing a DOT physical, does the driver need to get completely naked?

There is no reason for a driver to get complete naked during the DOT physical. Loose clothing is perfectly fine and will allow the examining physician to complete all aspects of the exam.

Who is responsible to cover the cost of DOT Physical Examination?

Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this question as it can vary. In some cases, the driver is responsible for the cost, some companies also cover the cost. Follow up with the employer to determine who is responsible. In some cases, the company requires all drivers to use their company doctor for the physical. Some insurance providers also treat this physical as preventative health care, and they may or may not cover the cost.

Is medical insurance required for a DOT physical?

No, medical insurance is not required to obtain a DOT physical.

How should I expect to pay for a DOT physical exam if I do not have insurance?

The cost for a DOT physical can range from $50 to $300. The new FMCSA Medical Examination Forms (2016) and associated reporting system have resulted in added administrative work and time for the medical examiner. As a result, the cost for a DOT physical exam has risen.

Is a urine test required for a DOT physical?

Yes, the urine test is used as a kidney screen to test for the presence of sugar and protein. It is used to early symptoms of certain conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or a kidney infection.

Is it possible to obtain a copy of the DOT physical?

Yes, a copy of the DOT physical should be provided along with the medical certificate. The medical examiner is required to maintain a copy of these documentation for at least three years.

When does a DOT medical card expire?

If there are no restrictions, a DOT medical card is valid for two years. Medical cards can be valid for shorter periods of time. This is common if the driver has a history of high blood pressure, takes high blood pressure medications, has a sleep disorder, or takes oral medications. In these cases, the medical card is often valid for a year or less.

How many 3-month DOT medical cards can be given?

Only one 3-month medical card can be granted. After this grace period, the condition should be resolved or under control.

With a standard 3-month medical card, something often needs to be done to manage and control the physical condition. Once this is complete, the DOT examiner can issue a new medical card which will typically be valid for a year. If the issue has not been resolved, the medical card cannot be extended. It is important to take the necessary steps to manage the condition and get it under control. This helps drivers avoid limitations and additional physicals.

What is the difference between a DOT physical card and DOT medical certificate?

These two terms are interchangeable. In most cases, they are called a DOT medical certificate when references the actual medical card, and a DOT physical when discussing the DOT physical exam.

Is it possible to replace a missing medical card without getting another DOT physical?

The DOT physical does not need to be repeated in cases of a missing card. The medical examiner who completed the physical is required to keep a record of the exam for three years and can provide the driver with a copy.

Requirements for a DOT Physical Examination