For commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, the most important safety feature is YOU – the driver! Each time you turn the key, you are responsible for your own safety, as well as the safety of all the people who share the road with you. The physical examination you take for your medical certificate confirms that you are healthy enough to safely perform the demanding job of a CMV driver and keep our Nation’s roads safe.
Driving a 5-ton – or more – large truck or bus is not like driving a passenger vehicle. Stopping time and distance, blind spots and limited maneuverability, require drivers to be in top driving performance. A DoT physical examination must be conducted by a licensed “medical examiner” listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry.
If you want to comply with federal law, a qualified medical examiner must complete your DOT physical form. Dr. Paramjit Takhar will review your health history and ask you to list the medications you take on a regular basis. During your DOT physical, the he will also do the following:
Once the medical examiner completes all the DOT physical requirements, you will discuss any hazards created by your health history or current medical condition. The examiner must document these hazards on your DOT physical form and determine whether you meet the standards for receiving a medical certificate.
If you meet the standards and do not require periodic medical monitoring, your certificate will be valid for two years. In some cases, the medical examiner will issue a certificate that lasts for only three months, six months, or one year. The examiner will also note whether you must wear a hearing aid or corrective lenses. If you do not meet the standards, the examiner will not be able to issue a valid medical certificate.
A DOT physical exam is valid for up to 24 months. The medical examiner may also issue a certificate for less than 24 months when it is desirable to monitor a condition, such as high blood pressure.
There are some restrictions for commercial drivers who have certain health problems. If you take injectable insulin for diabetes, for example, you cannot get a commercial driver’s license. You must have at least 20/40 correctable vision in both eyes. The DOT does allow you to wear contact lenses or glasses to improve your vision. You cannot use narcotics, amphetamines, or other habit-forming drugs if you want to obtain or renew your commercial driver’s license.