Commercial vehicle operators in the US are well conversant with the medical requirements of the Department of Transportation or DOT. Drivers of commercial vehicles have to follow the guidelines of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to keep their license valid and continue driving. We all know that driving commercial vehicles is an arduous job that involves much stress and drivers must be physically and mentally fit to withstand it to ensure safe driving. The FMCSA has issued clear guidelines for DOT physicals that primarily comprises of medical examination that drivers must pass through to be able to drive commercial vehicles.
Eligibility criteria for DOT physical
If you drive a commercial vehicle that meets the following criterion, then you must obtain DOT physical.
- You receive fees or charges for driving the vehicle that accommodates nine to fifteen passengers, and you drive for more than 75 miles from the place where you report to work.
- You move from one state to another when discharging your duty.
- You transport hazardous materials even in small quantities.
- If the gross combination weight of the vehicle exceeds 10,001 pounds whether the vehicle is empty of carrying the load.
Health conditions for obtaining license
For getting a commercial driver’s license, you must have correctable vision 20/40 in both eyes and 70″ peripheral vision in the horizontal meridian. If you take injectable insulin for diabetes, you do not qualify for a license. If the use of habit-forming drugs like amphetamines and narcotics is detected, it will disqualify your claim for a license.
A physical examination
There is another name given to DOT physical examination. Examination conducted for assessing the medical fitness for duty is another name for it. The purpose of the examination is to evaluate that each driver is healthy and capable enough to discharge his duties as a commercial vehicle driver. A certified medical professional conducts the DOT physical examination, and the name of the examiner must appear in the National Registry of the FMCSA. The inspector is empowered to issue a certificate to the driver provided he be satisfied with the findings. The certificate is valid for 24 months.
Scope of the examination
During the physical examination, the doctor will evaluate the current state of mind as well as physical health of the candidate and gather his medical history. The evaluation process is based on parameters that are linked to the daily duties and jobs performed when operating a commercial vehicle. Although it is a physical examination, it includes a component that looks into the drug and alcohol levels of the candidate. The test detects the alcohol level and the types of drugs that the candidate uses.
Health parameters for testing
Besides vision test, the doctor will do a hearing test to detect if you can perceive forced whisper from a maximum distance of 5 feet with or without the assistance of hearing aid. He also checks blood pressure to detect irregular heartbeats and high blood pressure and does a urinalysis to detect diabetes.
The doctor’s report is final and cannot be disputed or challenged.