What Happens at a DOT Physical?

When you drive for a living, you carry a great responsibility. Whether you’re hauling precious lives or dangerous materials, the safety of everyone on the road rides on your ability to get from point A to point B without a hitch. And if you have a medical condition that might jeopardize your own safety or that of others, it’s important to know before you get behind the wheel.

In fact, the Department of Transportation (DOT) insists on knowing, and that’s why they require a mandatory physical for all drivers. It’s different from the annual physical most people get, and you must see a certified medical provider like Joseph Goin, MD, at Calvary Urgent Care in Humble, Texas. Here’s what to expect.

Be prepared for your DOT physical

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets the health standards for all commercial drivers, and you can find resources regarding all rules, regulations, and policies on their website. Here’s what to bring with you to your DOT physical.

Paperwork

You can download the required forms you need to bring with you when you come see us for your DOT physical. Dr. Goin or someone on our team will fill out the required fields and sign off if you pass. 

Your employer may also have a form or two they want us to complete and sign, so make sure you check. If there are sections of any of these forms that you need to fill out, please take care of that prior to your visit.

Medications

If you take any prescription medication, bring a list of all drugs, the dosages, and the contact information for the prescribing doctor(s). 

Known medical conditions

The DOT physical is designed to look for conditions you may not even know you have that might put you or others in danger. But if you have certain health conditions you already know about, you need to disclose that information.

For example, if you have diabetes or heart disease, be prepared to explain your medical history, past and current treatments, verification of your current health status, and, of course, any related medications or treatments.

And don’t forget to mention if you wear hearing aids, contact lenses, or glasses, and bring them with you to your appointment.

During your DOT physical

The depth of information collected on the FMCSA forms is what really sets the DOT physical apart from a garden-variety checkup. Your in-office experience may seem very familiar: blood pressure, temperature, pulse, weight, and lots of questions. 

One part of the DOT physical that you wouldn’t normally encounter in a regular physical is the drug screen. This is required by the FMCSA and your employer to ensure that there are no illicit drugs in your system.

If you pass with flying colors, you may receive a certificate that’s good for two years, but if you fail one or more aspects of the exam, you may receive a certificate that must be renewed in one year, or you may be denied certification until you improve your health.

When to schedule your DOT appointment

Your employer gives you a deadline for completing your DOT physical, but rest assured, we’re ready when you are. We perform DOT physicals without an appointment, and we have a lab here on the premises, so you won’t have to go somewhere else for your drug screen and blood draw. 

Call our office or schedule an appointment online if you like, or walk in and see us at Calvary Urgent Care for your DOT physical today, so you can get on the road and start earning a living behind the wheel.

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