What do they do in a DOT Physical?

Department of Transportation (DOT) physicals are often required for people who are professional truck or bus drivers. When the employer requires that you complete a DOT physical, you may curious to know what is done in a DOT Physical wake forest.

A DOT physical exam is a test which is require for anyone who plans to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). The physical ensures that all commercial drivers are healthy and capable of performing their required daily tasks. The test also ensures that anyone who is a CMV driver is physically able to endure the long hours and potential stress associated with the operation of a commercial vehicle.

The following article will provide a guide on DOT Physicals, an explanation on who is typically required to complete a DOT physical, and discuss what takes place during an exam.

DOT Physical Evaluation

DOT Physicals are used to accurately evaluate the driver’s vision, blood pressure, in addition to any medical history which is relevant. It can aid in ensuring a driver does not have specific health conditions which could impair their ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle. Below is a summary of the different components of a DOT Physical.

Vision Test

A DOT Physical will include the doctor testing for at least 20/40 vision in both eyes. If the driver wears prescription glasses or contact lenses, it is important to bring these along. There will also be a test conducted to ensure various colors can be identified both with and without any prescribed lenses.

Hearing Test

The physical will also include the doctor conducting a hearing test. Whether it is with or without hearing aids, it is important that the driver is able to hear from less than five feet away.


The DOT physical will be require the completion of a urinalysis test. This test aids in determining if certain medical conditions exist or if there are any irregularities which may need immediate medical attention.

Blood Pressure/ Pulse Rate

The examination will also involve taking the blood pressure and pulse of the driver. These measurements will check for abnormalities and ensure the driver is healthy enough to sit for extended periods of time.

Physical Examination

A complete physical examination will also occur during the DOT Exam which will evaluate the following:

  • Abdomen & Organs: unusual masses, hernias, weakness
  • General Appearance: weight, tremors, drug or alcohol issues
  • Limbs: loss, damage, weakness
  • Lungs & Chest: healthy breathing
  • Mouth & Throat: breathing, swallowing
  • Neurological: balance, reflexes, speech
  • Skeletal: limitations, tenderness
  • Vascular System: weak pulse, blood flow, varicose veins

The exam will also verify that all drivers are current on their vaccinations which can include the following:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Polio/ Tetanus/ Typhoid
  • Influenza or Flu shot

Passing a DOT physical confirms that a driver is certified to operate a commercial vehicle. A certification can be valid for 3 months up to 2 years. The duration of the certification depends on the health of the driver and any health conditions which may prevent the driver from being at their top performance.

DOT Examination Requirements

During a DOT physical, drivers should have a list of any medication prescribed by doctors within the past month. In cases where the driver has a medical disability, the driver should have a medical release form to confirm they are approved to work.

Urine Tests and DOT Physicals