5 Reasons Why You Might Need a DOT Physical

If you operate a motor vehicle for work-related reasons, there is a good chance that you are required to periodically receive a DOT physical. The Department of Transportation (DOT) makes these physical exams a requirement to ensure that professionals are in the best shape possible to travel on the road. DOT physicals carefully examine much more than a basic physical. Clean driving performance is essential to be able to take up these occupations and that’s where a DOT exam can step in. We’ve provided the five most important reasons why you might need a DOT physical and the factors that can impede your driving abilities. 

Vision Testing 

Under the regulations of DOT, good vision is required to drive and operate a commercial vehicle. The DOT physical requires drivers to obtain 20/40 vision with or without the use of glasses or corrective lenses. This means you may also be able to see at least 20/40 with both eyes or at least 20/40 with either the right or left eye. Those with monovision may be disqualified from obtaining a DOT medical card. It is crucial that you get in touch with a doctor or your primary care provider if you are having speculations regarding your eyesight. 

Drug Testing

Just like most occupations require their employees to be tested for drugs, the same applies to those in the field of commercial transportation. Drug testing is performed under DOT regulations to ensure that professional drivers do not abuse habit-informing substances that can place risk on the safety of themselves and others that may be traveling on the road. Drug testing may also be required for those who work with specific DOT departments with safety-sensitive positions. Some major departments would include the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Federal Railroad Administration. Drug tests are to only use urine samples. 

Hearing Testing

Much like eyesight and normal motor functioning, good hearing is also required to drive and operate a commercial vehicle under DOT regulations. The DOT physical will examine whether or not you will be able to hear and detect a forced whisper in one ear within a distance of no more than five feet without the use of a hearing aid. You are still entitled to passing the hearing test of the DOT physical if you use a hearing aid in the opposing ear.

Brain and Neurological Screening 

A DOT physical also includes brain and neurological screening to identify any prevalent brain injuries and neurological disorders that can cause epilepsy or seizures. Patients who are diagnosed with epilepsy or obtain a medical history of seizures will be disqualified from receiving a DOT medical card, even if the diagnosis is controlled or medicated. This policy is in place for the safety and security of drivers, passengers, and others should a driver experience a seizure while driving a vehicle and transporting items. 

Cardiovascular Screening

Last but not least, doctors must examine your heart and determine if there are any prevalent conditions. Good heart health is especially important in order to pass the DOT physical. Evidence suggests that commercial vehicle drivers are more likely to suffer cardiovascular disease and events that could potentially put themselves and others at risk for injury and at the most extreme, death. Blood readings are likely to be conducted during this screening as they can assess the risk for heart disease or heart attack. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of medical illness and sudden death in drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles, leading DOT to take the necessary precautions. 

For drivers with heart-related issues, they are required to provide a letter from their cardiologist to the DOT physical that outlines their medical history and list of heart medications. Patients with a history of serious heart problems or conditions or who use medical devices such as defibrillators and pacemakers are likely to be disqualified from receiving a DOT medical card. 

What to Expect with a DOT Physical 

During your appointment for your DOT physical, the examiner will take an in-depth look at both your mental and physical health to ensure no medical conditions may interfere with your ability to drive and operate a vehicle in a safe manner. You might also be examined for diabetes in addition to the five tests. DOT physicals usually take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour to finalize. Drivers with existing or former conditions will be required to provide examiners with the proper documentation. Failure to disclose any conditions to the examiner can lead to failure of the DOT physical. 

Check Your Stability and Performance with El Paso Family & Pediatric Clinic Today 

The El Paso Family & Pediatric Clinic is more than qualified to provide you with a DOT examination and answer any questions you may have regarding your health. Contact us today to learn more about what the DOT physical entails and to make an appointment. 

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