DOT Physical Requirements
If you are driving a commercial vehicle, your workplace are the highways found in the United States. You are constantly around other people, commuters and vacationers, who are on their way to their own destinations. Usually driving goes fine, but one medical issue or one lapse of consciousness, and everything can change. Lives can be lost and person’s world can shatter.
This is why all commercial drivers are required by the Department of Transportation to ensure they have a physical done. A physical will find any health problems, which may impact the driver’s ability to operate a commercial vehicle. Something as simple as a heart-murmur or low blood-sugar, can lead to an accident that kills several people. When a driver is driving a truck that weighs 20,000 pounds, bad things can happen when it gets out of control.
The Department of Transportation is committed to keeping both commercial drivers, and regular drivers, safe in all cases. This is why they have created the National Registry, which requires all medical examiners to be registered.
In terms of the requirements for the various conditions a driver may have, the following are what you need to know:
- A driver with less than 140/90 blood pressure is considered medically certified to drive. If a driver has a BP of 140-159 and a BP of 90-99, they are certified for one year. Anything different, and the driver may only be certified for three months total.
- If a driver is using oxygen therapy, they will not pass their physical.
- If a driver has a lung disease, their ability to drive will be based solely on the medical examiner’s examination and opinion.
- If you have had any sort of heart surgery, you need to be cleared by the medical examiner to go back to work.
- If you have a defibrillator, that disqualifies you for inter-state driving. While it can correct problems when they happen, it does still create a safety risk.
- In terms of hearing, you must prove you can hear a whisper that is forced from 5 feet away, in your best ear. If you fail this test, you can still take further tests and use an aid for hearing which will not disqualify a person from passing your physical.
- You must be seizure free for a time period of at least two years to pass your driver’s medical test.
- Being overweight, or having sleep apnea, will not disqualify you.
- You must see 20/40 with eyes together, with your right eye, or with your left eye in order to pass the physical.
What is Interstate Commerce?
The National Registry requirements apply to anyone who is involved with interstate commerce; which is the trade, traffic or transportation that is involved with crossing a state boundary. It should be noted that even if the transportation is within the boundaries of a single state, but interstate in nature, it falls under the guidelines of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
What is the Registry?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners is a new program that took effect on May 21, 2014. It requires all commercial drivers who need to have a physical, to use a medical examiner that is listed within the National Registry. Only medical examiners that have completed the proper training and passed a test through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, are able to be listed in the National Registry.
What is the Medical Exam?
The Department of Transportation’s medical exam is conducted by a licensed medical examiner. This can include MD’s, osteopathy doctors, advanced practice nurses, assistants to physicians and chiropractors.
The exam is valid for 24 months, but if there is a condition that needs to be monitored, the medical examiner can release a certificate that is for less than 24 months. Conditions that would qualify include diabetes and high blood pressure.
How Do You Find A Medical Examiner?
As has been stated, the examiner must be listed in the National Registry, which is conducted through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In order to find a medical examiner, you need to go to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website, where you can do a search for a medical examiner that is in your area. If you are unable to find one in your area, you will need to travel to the next closest area in order to find a medical examiner that is listed.
It is very important to note that if you use a medical examiner who is not listed in the National Registry, your physical will not be valid. You will need to have another physical done, so that you can have your physical properly validated by the Department of Transportation.