young male patient talking to doctor at hospitalIf you operate a commercial vehicle like a semi-truck, school bus or oil tanker, you’re required by law to undergo a Department of Transportation physical once every two years.

If you’re a new driver, you’re probably wondering what to expect and might even feel a little nervous. We’ve developed this guide to help you prepare.

What is a DOT physical?

A DOT physical is a routine checkup required for all commercial drivers by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Spending long hours behind the wheel of a truck, bus or tanker is physically demanding and emotionally stressful. When combined with an intense schedule and daily obstacles like traffic jams or accidents, it’s crucial you’re healthy enough to remain focused and alert. A DOT physical provides a clean bill of health, so you can perform your job requirements confidently.

Who needs to undergo a DOT physical?

DOT physicals are required for drivers who:

  • Operate vehicles that are required to display a hazmat placard
  • Are paid to operate a vehicle that carries eight or more people
  • Operate a motor vehicle that carries more than 15 people
  • Operate motor vehicles with a gross combination weight rating of over 10,000 pounds

After you complete your DOT physical, your primary care physician signs off on a certificate. The certificate allows you to drive a commercial vehicle for two years, provided you don’t have an underlying health problem that requires more frequent testing.

What conditions require more frequent exams?

You might need a DOT physical every year if you have a chronic health problem like diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease. If you wear eyeglasses, contact lenses or hearing aids, you might benefit from more frequent checkups, as well.

What happens during a DOT exam?

During a DOT exam, your primary care physician reviews your medical history. They ask about the medications you take, how often you exercise and if you smoke or drink alcohol. Afterward, your provider checks your hearing, vision and blood pressure. Then, they order laboratory tests, including urinalysis and blood work.

If your provider determines you’re healthy enough to operate a commercial vehicle, they sign off on a certificate that’s good for two years. If they uncover any potential issues, they make recommendations for treatment and monitor your well-being over time.

Can I apply for work when I pass a DOT physical?

Yes. As soon as you pass a DOT physical, get in touch. Here at Double D Distribution, we’re always looking for experienced truck drivers to join our team. Call (801) 364-6565 or visit our website today.