DOT/CDL Physical Exams
If you are new to commercial driving, you may be wondering what does the physical exam involve? Well, to answer your question we have laid out a step by step of what takes place.
• You will be filling out a Medical History Questionnaire Form DOT 5875, which the Medical Examiner will then review and make any comments if needed. It is best that you answer honestly, as these questions are not looking to disqualify you, rather it is to inform the Medical examiner of any areas which may need further clarification.
• You will need to provide a urine sample. This is NOT a drug test, rather it is a screening for kidney or metabolic disorders (such as diabetes). Even if there are abnormalities, it does not disqualify you, rather further testing may be needed.
• Vision test. Your vision will be tested either with or without glasses, depending if you need them to drive. You will read off a chart that is 20ft away.
• Blood pressure is a very important aspect of your exam. The maximum a medical certificate is good for is two years. One of the factors that can result in not getting the full time is high blood pressure. We strongly advise that you do not drink any caffeinated beverages before the exam, and you are well rested. If you are already on medication for high blood pressure, make sure you take it.
• Hearing test. There are two types of hearing tests. The “Forced Whisper” or Audiometric. The Forced whisper is when the examiner forcefully whispers three numbers from at least 5 feet away. In the uncommon event that the driver fails this test, they will then be preforming an electric Audiometer testing (think of uncomfortable headphones).
• Lastly, the Medical Examiner will perform a physical exam.
• Once everything is completed, the Medical Examiner will make the determination (with the guidance of the FMCSA regulations) how long the certificate will be good for (2 yrs, 1 yr, 6 months, 3 months or failure).
• You receive your Certificate/Card (DOT 5876) and a copy of the DOT 5875 form. TB (PPD) A simple skin test that may indicate presence of Tuberculosis. Certain areas of employment (such as healthcare) may require biannual testing. A small amount of liquid, is injected just under the skin (with a very small needle). You must return between 48-72 hrs from when it was placed, to have you results. DOT Urine Drug Test A Federally regulated urine drug test. It is best that you drink plenty of fluids in order for you to have the required amount for testing. Audiogram Hearing Test A hearing test that uses specialized headphones, and a series of beeps at different frequencies and decibels (used if someone fails the forced whisper test, or employer is requesting it). Basic Employer Physical / Return To Work Physical A basic physical exam that your employer requested to either begin or return to work. This may be due to a recent injury or illness, or a pre-employment exam.
DOT Express provides DOT & non-DOT drug and alcohol testing.
The standard DOT test is a 5 panel urine drug screen. This is the only one mandated by the FMCSA.
There are six reasons why a person would get sent in to perform a Urine drug test.
2. Random (selected from the consortium)
3. Reasonable Suspicion
4. Post Accident (will usually also require a breath alcohol test)
5. Return to duty
6. Follow up
Once a Urine sample is collected, it will then be sent to a certified laboratory. The results are then sent to a Medical Review Officer, who will then relay the results to the proper recipient.
DOT provides other testing services as well. These include:
• Non DOT urine drug tests (with lab)
• Rapid Urine drug test
(results in 15 minutes, no lab or MRO)
• Hair Follicle test
• Breath Alcohol Test
For employers looking to enroll in our consortium, please contact our office at 702-840-7899
One of the health screenings that are performed during a DOT Physical Exam is the presence of glucose (sugar) and protein in the urine. The presence of sugar in the urine is a strong indicator of diabetes. While having diabetes doesn’t automatically disqualify you, it does need to be addressed and managed. This is an important factor in the physical exam, as a driver with uncontrolled diabetes can have episodes of extreme swings to their blood sugar and cause them to lose consciousness while driving having fatal consequences.
At DOT Express, we understand this and have created a diabetes management program. Once it is documented that the driver is addressing this issue, a CDL medical card can be issued. Our diabetes management program includes medication (if indicated), diet recommendations, and exercise advice.
Unlike type I diabetes, type II can easily be treated, and even reversed at times by following prescribed treatment. Enrolling in the DOT Express diabetes management program is easy, and can be done during the physical exam. Once enrolled, there are quarterly check-ups that monitor your progress via a rapid HgA1c blood test, and make changes your medication regiment if needed.
Blood Pressure Management
A blood pressure check is usually the first step in taking the DOT Physical Exam. The results of the blood pressure test is a large determining factor in whether the driver passes, gets a three month extension, passes for one year, or ideally, a two year CDL medical card. Having high blood pressure (which is common) or low blood pressure (less common) can have major health implications, and is thus a major component of the CDL medical examination. High blood pressure can lead to heart attack or stroke. Low blood pressure can cause major fatigue, so having blood pressure in the normal range is vital for drivers on the road.
At DOT Express, we give our patients ample time to get the best blood pressure reading possible. This includes retesting if the initial reading was not optimal, as well as tips for breath control and relaxation. However, there are times when this isn’t enough to get the blood pressure in the optimal range, which is why we have created the blood pressure management program.
At DOT Express, we have created a blood pressure program specifically for CDL license holders. Once treated, a driver can leave DOT Express with their proper examination results and will be under a treatment plan to get back on the road and a living a healthier way of life.
Blood pressure changes can usually be attributed to diet and exercise. In the case of genetics, being on the right medications can greatly improve the quality of life for many patients. Enrolling in the DOT Express blood pressure management program can be done during the exam; or on a separate visit.