What Does a DOT Physical Involve?

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Department of Transportation (DOT) physicals are specially designed for people who drive trucks, buses, and other large vehicles. These checkup exams are mandatory by law and ensure drivers are in good condition so that they can drive commercial vehicles. So if you drive a commercial vehicle, you may have a DOT physical in your near future. But what exactly does this physical involve and why is it so important?


First, let's talk about who actually needs DOT tests. These physical exams are meant for anyone who:


  • Operates a vehicle that carries more than 15 people

  • Operates a vehicle with a combination weight rating or vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds

  • Is paid to operate a vehicle that can carry more than 8 people

  • Transports hazardous materials


A DOT exam is for anyone who has a job that can impact not only their own safety but the safety of the general public as well. Following strict guidelines, doctors access drivers are in good health and able to perform their job tasks effectively.


So, what does a DOT physical look like? Drivers will need to discuss their medical history and current medications with their doctor. The actual exam will look at the driver's vision, hearing, blood pressure, and a urine test. Along with the basics, the doctor will also check the driver's lungs, heart, and overall coordination.


Overall, a DOT physical involves a brief discussion of medical history and any health concerns and a standard physical. At the end of the exam, the doctor will decide whether or not the driver is fit to safely perform their job duties.


Fortunately, these exams don't take long. While they are thorough, they are designed to quickly and efficiently evaluate the overall health of the patient. And they can be done at any medical center, like an urgent care clinic. With about 20,000 physicians practicing Urgent Care Medicine in today's society, drivers should have no problem scheduling an exam.


DOT physicals are important to ensure anyone who is in charge of operating a large motor vehicle is fit to do so. So if you have a similar job, make sure you talk to your employer about upcoming DOT physicals so you can ensure you're being safe on the job.