What Is a DOT Health Card?


Quick Answer

The Department of Transportation health card is a required document for an individual with a commercial driver's license. An approved medical provider from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration National Registry must complete the physical, issue the DOT medical card to the driver and complete the medical examiner's certificate.

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Full Answer

The DOT medical exam helps to ensure that drivers are physically fit to operate commercial vehicles. The medical provider checks areas including vision, blood pressure and general health. Drivers that pass the physical generally receive a card good for 24 months. However, if there are reasons for concern, such as elevated blood pressure, the card may expire sooner.

Some conditions disqualify the driver from the DOT medical card and driving commercial vehicles. A blood pressure over 180/110 is a medical disqualifier. The driver's blood sugar levels must remain under 200 and he cannot use habit-forming narcotics. Patients with heart problems must submit additional information to receive in order to obtain their cards. Sleep apnea, hernias, recent major surgery or recent back injuries also are disqualifiers for drivers seeking the card.

Some drivers with conditions that are cause for disqualification are able to qualify with the use of medication. If the patient's primary healthcare provider prescribes blood pressure medication that lowers the numbers to the acceptable range, the driver is able to qualify for the DOT medical card in some instances.

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