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CDL Exam or DOT Physical?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers who operate interstate and drive big cargo-laden trucks of a gross weight of over 10,000 pounds to clear a medical examination. All commercial interstate drivers need to take a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination. And all commercial DOT drivers require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and a CDL exam.

So is the DOT physical the same as the CDL physical exam? Let’s find out.

What is a DOT Physical?

Let’s understand what all the DOT physical exam includes and what documents you need to present at the time of exam. The DOT exam includes the following: Apart from a complete review of your medical history, a DOT physical exam checks a driver’s vision, blood pressure, and hearing.

The test also includes a urinalysis. Why? Because, a urinalysis test is used to determine if you have any serious medical condition that maybe requires immediate attention. Your general appearance is checked along with your mouth, throat, chest, extremities, and abdomen. The vascular, skeletal, and neurological systems are also tested.

Your eyes are checked for 20/40 vision in both. If you use contact lens or wear prescribed glasses, carry them with you to the exam center. A color test is also done to check for color blindness.

The hearing test checks if you’re suffering from any hearing loss. Carry your hearing aids if you use them while driving. The status of your vaccinations are checked for the following vaccines:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Polio/ Tetanus/ Typhoid
  • Influenza
  • COVID-19

You need to disclose the following during your DOT exam:

  • Current medications
  • Surgeries undergone recently
  • Tobacco, alcohol, or use of some other drug
  • Any other medical condition that you may be suffering from

What is an ME Certificate?

When you clear the DOT physical exam, you receive a Medical Examiner’s (ME) Certificate. As per FMCSA a DOT physical can only be conducted by a licensed “medical examiner” who is listed on the FMCSA National Registry. Doctors of medicine (MD), physician assistants (PA), doctors of chiropractic (DC), doctors of osteopathy (DO), and advanced practice nurses (APN) are all eligible to conduct your DOT physical.

Your DOT physical exam remains valid for 24 months, but if you have a medical condition that needs to be monitored, such as hypertension or high blood pressure, then your ME may issue a certificate for less than 2 years. Some other medical conditions that could stop the medical examiner from providing you with a certificate valid for 24 months are the following:

  • Had a major surgery recently
  • Injured your back in a recent accident
  • Have sleep apnea
  • Have hernia
  • Are on Workmen’s Compensation claims

That is why it is prudent to prepare yourself in advance before appearing for a DOT physical exam.

CDL Exam

For drivers who drive commercially but are restricted to driving in a local area or within the state lines do not require a DOT physical or a CDL exam. But all commercial interstate drivers need to get a DOT done. This requirement could vary from state to state. It is best to check with your employer.

For obtaining a CDL in the state of Florida you require the following:

  • Social security number
  • Proof of residential address
  • Age proof (that of being 18 years of age)
  • Clear DOT exam
  • A valid ME Certificate

Only once you clear your DOT exam as a CMV driver do you become eligible to hold a CDL. So, it can be safely said that the DOT physical test is the same as the CDL exam, even though not all interstate drivers need to hold a CDL.

If you’re wondering where to get your DOT exam done, you can try visiting https://www.drdeanmiami.com/ for a CDL exam in Miami. Our chiropractic team of licensed medical examiners will help you with all the paperwork. To know more you can call 305-389-9040 and schedule an appointment.

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