Question About Physicals

Topic 10732 | Page 1

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Travis H.'s Comment
member avatar

So I'm planning on getting my CDL next year, and hopefully a new job will follow shortly after. I read that one of the barriers of entry into this profession are the Department of Transportation physicals. To my knowledge, I am generally healthy. I'm turning thirty this year, and I have no serious health problems. I've never done drugs, or smoke. I rarely ever drink alcohol. I am a few pounds overweight (my guess is at least sixty). Working as a cashier for eleven years, as well as my hobby of watching television and playing video games has left me with not much arm strength. I know this is a trucker's forum and not a doctor's forum, but I would like to know what I can expect when it comes to these medical physicals, and what measures I can take now to ensure my physical health doesn't prevent me from entering the profession? As always, thanks in advance for any advice.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Travis, the basic requirements of the D.O.T. physical are easy to pass, and you should not have too much of a problem. Blood pressure is usually the one that causes most people issues. As long as it is under control, you will be fine, even if you are on medication for it.

What happens is that when you go to a new trucking job you will be required to get a new physical done each time, and often times the companies may have stricter requirements than the D.O.T. Some of them will require you to lift a box of certain amount of weight up onto a shelf that is about head high, but that is all stuff that you can find out about before you go somewhere for a job by doing a little research or asking questions in our forum.

I think you will be fine - it wouldn't hurt to try and start losing a little weight beforehand if you can. The guys who are overweight now days tend to get targeted for sleep studies to rule out any problems with sleep apnea.

If you've got any more questions you feel free to ask them in here or you can also use the search bar at the top of this page to help you find other conversations we may have had about something you are curious about. That search bar only searches this site, and you should find it very useful.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

We have ton of information on DOT physicals and drug tests. Here's some resources for you:

We have our main topic page for DOT Physicals:

DOT Physicals

Then we have topics covering the various aspects of the physical:

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Hypertension:

Abnormally high blood pressure.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Travis, the basic requirements of the D.O.T. physical are easy to pass, and you should not have too much of a problem. Blood pressure is usually the one that causes most people issues. As long as it is under control, you will be fine, even if you are on medication for it.

What happens is that when you go to a new trucking job you will be required to get a new physical done each time, and often times the companies may have stricter requirements than the D.O.T. Some of them will require you to lift a box of certain amount of weight up onto a shelf that is about head high, but that is all stuff that you can find out about before you go somewhere for a job by doing a little research or asking questions in our forum.

I think you will be fine - it wouldn't hurt to try and start losing a little weight beforehand if you can. The guys who are overweight now days tend to get targeted for sleep studies to rule out any problems with sleep apnea.

If you've got any more questions you feel free to ask them in here or you can also use the search bar at the top of this page to help you find other conversations we may have had about something you are curious about. That search bar only searches this site, and you should find it very useful.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

Kieran L.'s Comment
member avatar

Not to highjack the OP or anything, but I also am concerned with the physical, specifically the blood pressure test. I am generally healthy and strong, don't smoke and rarely drink, not obese, but high BP runs in my family and unfortunately genetics have bestowed this little issue on me as well. Ever since I was a kid I've always had borderline high blood pressure even when I was super fit, working out every day and eating a strict vegetarian diet for a couple years. I always test out right around the 135 to 145 borderline/high BP level, despite feeling great and being in great shape otherwise. Will this ruin my chances at passing the physical? What should I do?

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Kieran is worried:

What should I do [about blood pressure]?

If you have insurance now, get a physical with your personal doctor. Tell him you will soon have a DOT physical. You're Dr. probably can't do a DOT, but show him the requirements to pass. You may need a prescription.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

The Little Trucker's Comment
member avatar

Kieran is worried:

double-quotes-start.png

What should I do [about blood pressure]?

double-quotes-end.png

If you have insurance now, get a physical with your personal doctor. Tell him you will soon have a DOT physical. You're Dr. probably can't do a DOT, but show him the requirements to pass. You may need a prescription.

Hey Errol, you're a Swiftie. How much do you have to be able to lift if you're looking at dry van or reefer?

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

We have ton of information on DOT physicals and drug tests. Here's some resources for you:

We have our main topic page for DOT Physicals:

DOT Physicals

Then we have topics covering the various aspects of the physical:

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Hypertension:

Abnormally high blood pressure.

Sleep Apnea:

A physical disorder in which you have pauses in your breathing, or take shallow breaths, during sleep. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. Normal breathing will usually resume, sometimes with a loud choking sound or snort.

In obstructive sleep apnea, your airways become blocked or collapse during sleep, causing the pauses and shallow breathing.

It is a chronic condition that will require ongoing management. It affects about 18 million people in the U.S.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

TheLitleTrucker wonders:

Hey Errol, you're a Swiftie. How much do you have to be able to lift if you're looking at dry van or reefer?

Smarta$$ answer: You need to be able to lift your leg up to the cab step so you can get in.

Real answer: Swift does not have any agility or strength test for their basic driving course or job application process.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

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