Truck Drivers DOT Physical & Medical Certification
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Truck Drivers DOT Physical & Medical Certification - Frequently Asked Questions
What does the DOT physical check?
The physical will check your overall health, including vision, hearing, blood pressure, and a urinalysis. The examiner will also check things like your general appearance, pulse, limbs and extremities. If it's part of your body, expect it to be included in the DOT physical.
How long is the DOT medical certification good for?
Normally, medical certification is good for 2 years, though it could be shorter in the case of high blood pressure.
Are there any prescription drugs that are prohibited by the FMCSA?
Only methadone and anti-seizure medications are specifically mentioned as forbidden. Most will be up to the judgment of the prescribing doctor to affirm that the medication will not interfere with your ability to drive safely.
Will I fail a DOT physical if I am taking prescription medication?
No, or not necessarily. Certain prescription medications, namely opiates or amphetamines, would disqualify you from driving a commercial vehicle. Many prescription medications will be acceptable with a doctor's affidavit that you are safe to drive while taking it, but every company has different rules on what meds are acceptable.
Can I be a truck driver if I am missing a limb or have some other physical impairment?
Yes. You will have to apply for a Skills Performance Evaluation Certificate which will require you to prove that you are capable of driving a commercial vehicle safely with your particular physical impairment.
Can I become a truck driver if I have diabetes?
Yes. If you require insulin to control it, you will need to apply for a diabetes exemption. It can be a lengthy process, so start it as early as you can. Otherwise, there are administrative, vision, and medical criteria that you will have to meet to be allowed to drive.
What kinds of medical issues will disqualify a commercial truck driver?
Basically, anything that the FMCSA has deemed likely to interfere with the safe operation of a commercial motor vehicle. Loss of vision, high blood pressure, dependence on prescription narcotics, or physical impairment which does not allow you to operate your vehicle safely are all examples of things that will be obstacles to getting medically certified.
Do all companies make you test for sleep apnea?
Every company has it's own criteria for deciding who is at risk and should be tested/monitored.
Will I be responsible for paying for a sleep study and monitoring equipment?
Mostly, yes. Some companies will put the money up up-front, and payroll deduct it, others will leave it entirely to you to handle. Most companies will require that you foot the bill, at least in part.
What if I have sleep apnea?
You will normally be required to sleep with a CPAP machine that will send data to the company confirming that you are using it. Many studies show that people with sleep apnea who use CPAP's have better sleep and suffer less from daytime drowsiness.
I have high blood pressure. Can I still pass a DOT physical and be medically certified?
Yes, though the certification period may be shorter the higher your blood pressure goes over 140/90. For example: A 1-year certificate will be issued for 140/90 - 150/99 and a 3 month certificate for 160/100 - 179/109. Anything over 180/110 is automatic disqualification until it is brought down.
What kinds of medical exemptions are available for truck drivers?
Drivers who have trouble meeting the criteria for the diabetes, vision, hearing, and/or physical impairment parts of the DOT physical may be eligible to apply for DOT Physical Exemptions.
Do I need a DOT physical before getting my learner's permit?
It depends on the state you live in. Some states require it, some don't.