Summary of physical requirements for a DOT Physical Exam
You must have at least 20/40 acuity in each eye with or without correction (eyeglasses or contacts) and at least 70 degrees of peripheral vision on the horizontal meridian in each eye.
You must also be able to recognize and distinguish standard traffic signal colors: red, green, and amber.
You must perceive a forced whisper voice at 5 feet or more with or without hearing aid. Otherwise, you must undergo a formal hearing test with an audiometer and pass.
Your blood pressure must be less than or equal to 140/90 to be qualified as a driver. If your blood pressure is more than 140/90 but less than 180/110, you may qualify for a shorter interval Medical Examination Certificate. This depends on several things, including if this is an initial or re-certification and also on the discretion of the medical examiner.
Medical Conditions That Can Disqualify a Driver
1. History of epilepsy (seizure disorder).
2. Diabetes requiring the use of insulin (unless you have an exemption by the Federal government).
3. Failing to meet the minimum vision and hearing standards listed above.
If you don’t meet the vision standards or you are using insulin for your diabetes, it is possible to apply for an exemption by going to the Federal Diabetes and Vision Exemption Program on the FMCSA website.
4. The use of some medications:
-Methadone use automatically disqualifies you.
-Use of a narcotic, amphetamine, or other habit forming drug without a prescription from a treating physician automatically disqualifies you.
5. Loss or impairment of an arm or limb that interferes with commercial driving or tasks related to driving, unless accompanied by a Skills Performance Certificate (SPE).
6. A history of alcoholism disqualifies you.
New federal regulations that started May 21, 2014, state that commercial motor vehicle drivers can get medical certificates only from a medical examiner who is FMCSA National Registry Certified. After this date you will not be able to go to just any healthcare provider for your DOT physical. You must go to a Certified Medical Examiner on the FMCSA National Registry.
- It should take only 30-45 minutes to go through the DOT physical examination. Provided there are no medical concerns, the medical examiner will be able to certify you and issue your medical certificate.
- A DOT medical card is valid for two years if you have no restrictions. A history of high blood pressure, taking high blood pressure medications, a sleep disorder, and taking oral medications for diabetes can restrict the medical card to one year or less, depending on how frequently the condition needs monitoring.
- Being overweight is not a restriction to passing the DOT physical exam. It is the medical conditions that being overweight eventually leads to, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease, that may affect your ability to safely drive a commercial vehicle. That is what the DOT exam will determine, whether you have any of these restrictive medical conditions. Getting healthy and staying healthy is your best guarantee for your life and your livelihood.