What exactly is a DOT physical exam and what do they test for?


Quick Answer

A Department of Transportation physical exam is a comprehensive federally-mandated medical exam for commercial motor vehicle drivers that tests for medical issues that could interfere with a driver performing his job. The exam includes a health history review, a thorough physical and a urine test.

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Full Answer

A medical examiner's certificate, commonly known as a DOT medical card, is necessary to obtain a commercial driver's license. This medical card is ideally issued for a 24-month period. The card may be issued for three-, six- or 12-month intervals in order to monitor specific issues, such as high blood pressure, more closely.

Any licensed medical examiner can perform a DOT medical exam. Not every medical examiner has a Medical Examination Report, but the report can be found online and downloaded. The medical examiner provides a copy of the results to the person being examined if he is qualified for a medical card. The medical examiner fills out a Medical Examiner's Certificate for the person afterward.

A driver must pass several minimum criteria to be considered for a DOT medical card. He must have 20/40 correctable vision in each eye, which means that he passes if glasses or contacts can correct his vision. He also can't have diabetes that requires insulin to control it. Additionally, he must be drug-free, his blood pressure must be below 140 over 90 and his blood sugar must be below 200.

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