DOT Physical Exam

What You Need to Know Before Your DOT Exam

A Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam is the thorough examination you need to get or keep your CDL. After all the work you’ve done to get the license, and even with a great driving record, your commercial driver’s license is at stake on the result of your DOT exam. This can cause people to become nervous but you don’t need to be! With a little bit of mental prep so you know what to expect, you will be able to take the test with much more peace of mind

1) You have options:

One cause of anxiety as people make the examination appointment is their displeasure with the place they have to go. But doctor’s offices aren’t your only choice for this physical exam! According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, you simply need anyone who is a legal Medical Examiner. This actually includes anyone “who is licensed, certified and/or registered in accordance with applicable State laws and regulations to perform physical examinations… The term includes but is not limited to doctors of medicine, doctors of osteopathy, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses and doctors of chiropractic”. The environment of an option like a physical therapy or chiropractic office tend to have a more relaxed, personal vibes.

2) They’ll want to really get to know you:

Whichever place you choose for your exam, there will be a ton of history questions. It’s important to be super honest here because the headache of legal complications isn’t worth fudging (or forgetting) the truth in any category. Your CDL medical exam will be smoother if you can brush up on your personal medical history, so in that portion you can move expediently.

3) They will judge your book by it’s cover:

The DOT physical examiner does not abide by the traditional form of that colloquialism. This is another reason you would do well choosing a licensed Medical Examiner you trust or are comfortable with. Mainly all they are looking at via your physical appearance is any sign of obesity, alcoholism, or other similar medical issues.

4) You won’t lose your shirt:

Though this isn’t a promise, the reports of driver’s post their DOT examination is that they weren’t asked to fully disrobe. However, you will want to wear comfortable and loose fitting clothes, so they can assess your well-being without that uncomfortable request.

5) Come hydrated:

Yes, this medical exam will require a urine sample. The DOT medical card only requires this test to check your urine for chronic medical conditions. These would include diabetes or similar. That’s another reason to be honest in the history questionnaire as discussed above. You should know though: your company has the right to have your sample tested for drugs or alcohol at this time.

6) You’ll play a kid’s game:

Do you remember the “quiet game”? Or… Do you employ this technique with kids under your guardianship? Either way, a similar thing called the Whisper Test will take place during your DOT exam. It’s actually a hearing test, described by CDL Life News like this: “For the whispered voice test, the driver should be 5 feet from the examiner with the ear being tested turned toward the examiner. The other ear is covered. Using the breath which remains after a forced expiration, the examiner whispers words or random numbers such as 66,18.23. The examiner should not use only sibilants (s-sounding test materials). If the individual fails the whisper test, the audiometric test should be administered”.

7) More senseational tests:

Your Medical Examiner will also need to do a vision test. For this portion, you’ll need to bring your glasses, contacts, etc if you use any of these (whether for driving or not).

8) (Usually) one more thing…

The shortness of the following test doesn’t make it any less awkward (again, this is where your pre-test “study” right here will help mentally prepare). But with cooperation, your hernia exam usually only consists of your examiner placing their hands on your pelvis as you turn your head and cough.

And that’s it! As the test goes on, your DOT examiner will be filling out a standardized form and submit after you’ve finished. And since now you’re all prepared, you will be off and on your route again in no time.



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East Coast Injury Clinic, Jacksonville, FL
Phone (appointments): (904) 513-3954 | Fax: (904) 212-0223

Office Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 am - 6:00 pm, Saturday - By Appt Only, Sunday - Closed
Address: 10550 Deerwood Park Blvd., Suite 609, Jacksonville, FL 32256