Securing a permit to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) entails completing and passing a battery of functional capacity tests included in a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical.
DOT physicals are mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for people who hold safety-sensitive positions. In essence, these are workers who:
- Operate vehicles with a gross vehicle weight or combination weight rating of over 10,000 pounds
- Are employed to drive vehicles that carry more than eight passengers
- Haul hazardous materials
Truck drivers, pilots, subway operators, and bus drivers are just a few examples of employees who need to get DOT physicals.
DOT Physical Requirements
If you’re seeking employment in the transportation industry and you need to get a DOT physical, listed below are some of the specific tests to give you a general idea of what you need to undergo and pass to be able to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
- A review of your medical history- You will be required to disclose details about your medical history or provide your medical records and a complete list of medications you’re currently taking.
Medications that can impair your focus and compromise your safety and others’ may disqualify you from getting a CDL medical certification.
- Thorough physical examination- The examiner will check your general appearance, spine, eyes, ears, mouth and throat, heart, abdomen, reflexes and coordination, and a dozen of other categories.
- Vision exam- Driving a commercial vehicle requires that you have excellent visual acuity to spot obstacles and other drivers from far distances.
To pass the visual exam, you need to have at least 70° horizontal peripheral vision in each eye and at least 20/40 vision with or without using corrective lenses. Your examiner will indicate on the form if you used corrective lenses.
You will also need to take the Ishihara test to determine whether you have color blindness.
- Blood pressure reading– Ideally, your blood pressure level should be below 140/90.
- Hearing test- During a hearing test, you will be asked to stand five feet away from the examiner and cover the ear you are facing them. Then, they will whisper something and check how well you hear them. If you fail the whisper test, you will be required to undergo an audiometry test.
- Urinalysis- This is for detecting the presence of illegal substances (amphetamines, cocaine, etc.) in your system and for ruling out underlying medical conditions.
- Physical endurance test- This test is geared toward determining a truck driver’s ability to sit and steer for long periods of time, climb in and out of the truck, and couple and uncouple trailers.
What to Do When You Fail Your DOT Physical
If you don’t pass these tests, you may consider applying for an exemption. The FMCSA will review your case by evaluating your employment history, your medical records, driving experience, and other pertinent information you provided.
It is worth noting that FMCSA only grants exemptions to interstate drivers, and the agency is not authorized to give you exemptions from intrastate requirements. Decisions are usually released within 180 days after receipt of the application.
DOT Physical in North Richland Hills, TX
To know more about our services or would like to schedule a DOT physical, call the EMC Express Care clinic at (817) 503-8800 or use our online request form. We are open any day of the week, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.