Every commercial driver on the road today, or in school learning how, is required to take a series of DOT physicals during their career. This health certificate carries as much importance as their CDL license, and not having one can get you suspended.
Here's what happens during a DOT/ICC physical:
The information you will need to provide for the doctor will cover the last five years of your personal medical history. This will include any injuries, surgeries or illnesses you have had during that time, any medications and dosages that you take regularly, as well as your habits concerning smoking, recreational drugs and alcohol. Any and all incidents of medical emergencies are also included, especially anything dealing with fainting, anxiety, or other conditions that would require psychiatric treatment.
Vision and Hearing
The vision test requires that you have at least a field of vision for each eye of 70 degrees, and if you wear corrective lenses, have a tested level of at least 20/40. You will also have to be tested to be certain that you can distinguish colors, especially those normally used in traffic signals. The hearing test will include a standard auditory whisper test. This will measure the sound frequency that you can currently hear, and whether or not you have any significant hearing loss.
Blood Pressure and Urinalysis
To get the standard two year health certification during DOT physicals, you must have a tested blood pressure of less than 140/90. That is the level considered normal by the DOT. A pressure of 140-149/90-99 will qualify you for a one year certificate only, is considered to be Stage I hypertension and will dictate follow-up checks. Anything higher than this may be up for review, and may only grant you limited health certification, from three to six months.
Urinalysis will test for abnormalities in blood sugar, ketones, proteins, and white or red blood cells. Of note, our office does not perform alcohol/drug testing as part of the DOT.
Physical and Neurological Test
A complete physical exam, from head to toe, follows next. The neurological test will cover reflexes, equilibrium and coordination as the last part of DOT physicals.
Things to Plan in Advance:
If you have a medical condition, you’re going to need some paperwork:
- Diabetic condition - recent hemoglobin A1c print out and your list of medications with dosages and name of prescribing doctor.
- High blood pressure - bring a list of medications with dosages and name or prescribing doctor. Your BP must be less than 140/90 at your exam. If you bring a medical note showing it in that range within 30 days before your exam, we'll accept that.
- Past heart attack - cardiologist release with exercise tolerance test within the last 2 years.
- Past coronary bypass - cardiologist release with exercise tolerance test within the last 1 year once 5 years post surgery.
- Past angioplasty/stent - cardiologist release with exercise tolerance test within the last 2 years.
- Pacemaker - documentation of routine pacemaker checks.
- Sleep apnea – compliance print out from your CPAP's compliance chip.
- Corrective vision - have your eyeglasses or contacts with you.
- Hearing aid - have your hearing aid with you.
- Medications – list all prescription medicines you take and dosage. If you regularly take over-the-counter medications, such as antacids or allergy pills, list them too.
- Contact information – have names and phone numbers of your doctors in case you need to call and have them fax missing information.
Things to do to Manage your Blood Pressure:
- Make sure you don’t run out of your prescribed blood pressure medication.
- Remember to take your medication on schedule. If you forget, most doctors recommend taking your medication as soon as possible.
- The week before your DOT physical exam, cut back on coffee, sodas, energy drinks, potato chips, etc., and don’t add salt to your food. Also reduce your use of nicotine as much as possible. Taking these steps can help lower your blood pressure reading.
Please make you have the following with you on the day of the examination:
- Driver's license
- Bring/wear your glasses/contacts if you use these to drive.
- Medication list with dosage
- Required test results in report form
- Be prepared to do a urinalysis
Schedule I or II drugs
Narcotics or illegal Drugs
Any prescription to prevent seizures
Any other OTC or prescription medication that the Medical Examiner thinks may compromise safety
*Payment due the same day of service.