DOT physical health tests exist because truck drivers need to have excellent health for their position. All the time spent seated and driving poses certain health risks and trucking employees need to be examined and deemed healthy enough to take on these risks before being allowed behind the wheel.
To ensure safety for everyone on the road and to reduce health issues related to sitting and driving for long periods of time, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires that all drivers pass a DOT medical exam before being given a CDL. If you are preparing to take your physical test, here is the information you need to know to pass and earn your CDL.
What Does a DOT Physical Exam Test for?
The FMCSA has a set protocol that all medical examiners must follow when testing people for their DOT physical. The trucking physical test begins with a detailed health history that includes information on any surgeries, current medications, diagnoses, issues with substances, and any health symptoms. The medical reviewer will also test your blood pressure, pulse, vision in both eyes, and your hearing. This is in addition to a urine test which tests for traces of drugs, and blood, sugar, and protein in the urine. During this physical test, the medical examiner will be testing for your overall health and the health of various parts of your body. Once the test is completed, the medical examiner will send the information to the licensing agency in your area.
Possible Conclusions of Your DOT Physical Test
At the end of your physical exam, a few different outcomes can happen depending on the findings of the doctor. You may be able to drive for two years if the medical examiner did not find any health conditions serious enough to impact your driving abilities. You may be able to drive but will need regular monitoring of your health, and finally, you may be found to have too serious of health issues to be cleared for your CDL license. If the doctor concludes that you do not meet standards, you can seek a second opinion by following FMCSA protocol.
Improving Your Health Before the Physical Exam
If you want to pass your DOT physical exam to be awarded a CDL license, you need to be as healthy as possible when you walk into the examination room on the day of your appointment. This seemingly insignificant appointment can have a great impact on your trucking career. Too high of blood pressure, poor vision, uncontrolled diabetes, and epilepsy are all considered immediate disqualifications.
As you are preparing for your DOT physical exam, it is recommended to practice the following:
- Eat and drink healthy food and beverages the week leading up to your appointment. Cut back on caffeine, salt, sugar, and processed food.
- Take all of your medications as prescribed and as scheduled.
- Make sure you have enough of your medication leading up to your physical exam, to ensure you don’t run out before your appointment and skip necessary doses.
- Make sure your prescription contact lenses or glasses are up to date and bring your lenses or glasses with you to the appointment.
What to Bring to the DOT Physical Exam
Bringing in all the appropriate paper work to your exam will help make it go by faster and more efficiently. Bring in full medical records from your primary physician if they are not the one leading your physical exam. Bring in the name and contact info for the doctor who treats you for any specific health conditions, if applicable. Also, bring in a complete list of all medications you are taking, that includes the name of the medication, the prescribed dosage, its strength, and the name of the prescribing doctor.
The DOT physical exam exists not to delay or keep you from starting a rewarding trucking career but to ensure you are healthy enough to take on the health risks of driving. It helps to protect your health and the health of others on the road. To pass your DOT physical exam and receive your CDL, be sure to stay active and exercise, eat well, take all medications, and get plenty of restful sleep.
For more information on testing for truck drivers, including a comprehensive drug testing regimen to ensure drivers are not only healthy but drug and alcohol free, contact Consortium Pool today. They are a full service drug testing company who can provide all of the necessary drug tests required by the DOT.