What Is a DOT Physical Examination?


Quick Answer

The Department of Transportation requires licensed commercial vehicle drivers to undergo a physical exam to protect the safety of the driver as well as others who share the road, says the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. A DOT physical is valid for 24 months.

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Full Answer

DOT exams must be conducted by a medical examiner who is certified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. When an individual has been evaluated as physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle, he receives a copy of the medical examiners certificate that details the results. If the physician determines that the driver has a condition, such as high blood pressure, that should be monitored, a short-term certificate may be issued instead of the typical two-year certificate, says the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Drivers who have diabetes or certain vision-related conditions can still receive certification, but they must apply for a Federal Diabetes and Vision Exemption Programs exemption certificate. Drivers with physical impairments, such as missing or impaired limbs, need to take an additional exam to demonstrate their ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle, says the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The Skill Performance Evaluation certifies drivers who wear prosthetic devices and demonstrate their ability to perform on- and off-road job requirements.

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