What You Should Know About DOT Physical Exams

What You Should Know About DOT Physical Exams


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires commercial drivers to have a physical examination performed at least every two years. This ensures that the driver is fit for commercial driving and is a factor when determining liability in the event of an accident. At Office Tenders, we always check for DOT physical dates when reviewing Driver Data Collection Sheets, which is commonly left out when a driver fills out the form. We use these dates to ensure the driver has a current physical expiration date and to know when to send out a reminder to renew (along with the required physical form and wallet card) before it expires. Whether you are a commercial driver or you run a company that hires drivers, it is important to understand why DOT physical exams are required and what they entail.


What Does a Physical Exam Cover?


When a driver visits a certified medical examiner to obtain a physical exam, the drive must first fill out a medical history form. Once this is completed, the medical examiner will begin the physical examination, which typically takes an average of 30 minutes to complete. During this examination, the medical examiner will check the driver’s blood pressure, vision, and hearing.


What are the Primary Medical Concerns?


In general, the physical examination is fairly standard, but there are a few factors that medical examiners pay close attention to. Namely, they will be checking for high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease. It is important to make sure that the driver is not at high risk for any medical issues that could lead to a loss of motor vehicle control. When taking the physical, epilepsy or poor vision could also result in the driver failing the examination.


If a driver has high blood pressure, takes medication to control blood pressure, or suffers from any other medical concerns that may cause concern, and they are still deemed fit to drive a commercial vehicle, the normal 2 year expiration date of their medical exam may be shortened.


When filling out a Driver Data Sheet, always double check the DOT physical examination dates and ensure they are not due or overdue for a physical before submitting their information to Office Tenders, this will save you time and increase the likelihood that you are hiring a qualified driver.


New Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Requirement


Drivers are now also required to record their physicals with their state Department of Motor Vehicles, as this information is now tied to their Commercial Driver’s License. If they neglect to do this, they will receive a letter that they are no longer qualified to drive, until the current physical is recorded. Additionally, when the physical is recorded, employers are required to get an updated Motor Vehicle Record to verify that the state data base has been updated. If the employer notifies Office Tenders of the new physical expiration date we order the new Motor Vehicle Record for the employer.

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