Prepare for your DOT Physical

Whether you drive people, hazardous materials, or a big-rig truck, you may need to pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam to ensure you’re fit and able to operate a commercial vehicle. Successfully completing the process requires some preparation and patience as you gather all the necessary paperwork. 

At Lakewood Ranch Health in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, expert physician Leo Kao, MD, and our team meet federal requirements for issuing the certification you require to obtain or renew a commercial driver’s license. We provide some general guidelines here. We also encourage you to contact our office or check with your employer if you have further questions.

Why you need a DOT exam

DOT exams are designed to ensure that you’re physically and mentally fit to operate a city bus, large truck with a flatbed or box trailer, select vans that transport passengers, and numerous other vehicles identified in federal guidelines as “commercial” vehicles. You must have a DOT physical if you:

  • Get paid to operate motor vehicles that carry more than eight people
  • Operate motor vehicles that carry more than 15 people, even as a volunteer
  • Transport materials that require a hazmat placard on the vehicle
  • Operate vehicles that weigh over 10,000 pounds

In general, you need to take a DOT physical exam every two years. If you have certain chronic medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, heart disease), you may need yearly exams.

If you drive for a company or organization, your employer notifies you of DOT physical requirements. However, independent drivers and others, such as those volunteering to drive a church bus, must meet the same federal standards. These guidelines fall under the authority of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Fill out your DOT forms

You can find free, print-friendly PDF forms required for DOT physicals on the site. If you don’t own a printer, check with your employer, local library, or another facility that offers computer and print services. You should fill in your portion of the application(s) before arriving at the office. I

Individuals with certain health conditions require extra paperwork covering medical exemptions, such as those for diabetes, seizures, and hearing or vision impairments. Once your paperwork is complete, provided you pass the physical exam, your doctor will issue you the medical card that qualifies you as fit to drive.

What to bring to your DOT exam

When you come in for your DOT physical, you need to present us with all of the paperwork that gives us your medical history. You should also come prepared for hearing and vision screening, physical evaluation, medical history assessment, and review of your current medications. We also may take urine and blood samples for testing. 

For your physical, please bring:

  • The filled-out application form 
  • A copy of your medical records (if you aren’t a current patient)
  • Medical records from any specialists you see
  • Most recent laboratory results if you have diabetes or other chronic conditions that require blood draws
  • Glasses, hearing aids, contacts, and other such aids you use when driving
  • Complete list of current prescription medications, including dosage  

You may find it helpful to keep your medical records updated and organized in anticipation of your DOT physicals, rather than scrambling to find them every two years.

To book your DOT physical, contact our friendly team at Lakewood Ranch Health today by phone or online form. 

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