4 Things You Didn’t Know About DOT Physicals

by Dr. Michael Tigges

4 Things You Didn’t Know About DOT Physicals

The DOT physicals are special physical/medical exams required by the Department of Transportation. The exams are a must for those wishing to obtain or maintain a commercial driving license (this includes truck and bus drivers).

Even if you’ve already been advised to take one, you might not know exactly what to expect. Here are four things you probably didn’t know about the DOT exam and how they affect you.

Tip #1: The urine test is not for drugs

The urine test performed during a DOT physical checks for the presence of protein or sugar in your urine. These are important because they could indicate elevated glucose, an early sign of diabetes. They can also show whether you’re having other underlying medical issues, such as kidney problems. You may also be required to get a drug test but this is separate from the actual DOT Physical Exam.

Tip #2: The typical DOT card is valid for two years

However, this only applies if you clear the test properly and you have no medical conditions that could impact your driving performance. For example, being on prescription medications for high-blood pressure or diabetes triggers a restriction on your DOT card. As a result, you might be given a one-year card only and will have to come back after that to repeat the test.

There are also 3-month DOT cards available. These are considered temporary cards and are given to allow you time to get a specific condition under control. For example, if your blood sugar is too high, you might be given a 3-month
card so you can see your doctor and figure out what medications you need to take to control your blood sugar.

Tip #3: There are specific guidelines regarding blood pressure measurements

You won’t be disqualified from getting your DOT card if you have high blood pressure, but you will be required to keep it under control with medical treatment.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) state that:
•Drivers with less than 140 systolic and 90 diastolic can receive a two-year card
•Drivers with a systolic measurement of up to 159 or a diastolic measurement of up to 99 can receive a one-year card
•Measurements over 160/100 will receive a three-month card so the driver can go back to his doctor for antihypertensive drug therapy. After the three months, if the blood pressure readings have gone down, he can receive a one-year card and will be reassessed annually after that.
•Tip #4: Some conditions might disqualify you from passing the DOT exam

Aside from uncontrolled diabetes and blood pressure, you might be disqualified from getting a DOT card if you suffer from poor visual acuity, certain mental disorders, epilepsy and advanced heart disease.

Failing the drug test or suffering from alcoholism are also grounds for disqualification. In addition, people with loss or impairment of limbs are unlikely to pass the test, as this would affect their driving ability.

If you are concerned about your upcoming DOT physical, give us a call. We’d be happy to answers your questions and let you know if there’s anything you can do to ensure you pass the exam and receive your card without problems.

Comments for 4 Things You Didn’t Know About DOT Physicals

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Mar 05, 2016
What about Sleep Apnea!
by: Anonymous

Nothing mentioned in here about the sleep apnea testing being conducted illegally!Big Money!

An entire industry (Trucking) at the mercy of a handful of specialist charging up wards of $2,100 just to screen you. And then another two to four thousand dollars to connect you to a C pap machine for life. FOR LIFE!

And now the peripherals are starting up. Have you Heard all the recent C-Pap commercials on the radio yet!

I want to fight this and that is why I need your help. Attorneys are expensive. I also need other drivers that have been discriminated against to join with me and fight this.

I am tired of Government nanny’s interfering with people’s life’s

I am tired of a health care system that wants to make you have a condition so they can force you to buy a machine that can cost upwards of several thousands of dollars that a lot of Insurance companies will not cover nor should they!

I am angry that groups of physicians will make billions of dollars while forcing you into their trap in order for you to make a living and care for your family!

Please help end governmental over reach and get these greedy doctors out of our bedrooms, or tell me why you need to be an Olympic athlete in order to drive trucks!

Please if you can help me fight this Please share. Thank You


Mar 05, 2016
dot physical says I am only 5'8"
by: Anonymous

This is Bull!! The last physical I had (Concentra Maryland) wouldn't give me a 30 day card because they said my sugar was to high I had just eaten lunch a 1/2 hour before the test and had a piece of pie as dessert. No where had I been told that I should fast before taking a DOT physical or I would have.

I have been a controlled diabetic Type 2 for over 20 years and watch my sugar carefully. They also said that DOT required me to have an A1C test every month.

My Doctor said they are out of their minds. You would go broke paying for them and the medical requirements are only once a year.

They said I was 5'8" tall and My doctor says I am 5'11" tall I also measured myself at home & am 5'11" tall Their weight scale was off by 20 lbs also. They said I was heavier them I am.

I think they do this too make $$ off of tests they say you need!

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