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DOT Exams

Dr. Jeffrey Massarone is a 2014 FMCSA National Registry Certified Medical Examiner, and is qualified to perform DOT physical exams.


Helpful Hints To Prepare For Your DOT Physical

DOT Physical Exam: Things to Plan in Advance:

If you have a medical condition you are going to need some paperwork:

  • Diabetic Condition – Bring a list of medications and name of prescribing doctor. Diabetics may need to bring in a copy of your blood sugar results and hemoglobin A1C (a test that shows what your average blood sugar level was over the past 3 months.)
  • High Blood Pressure – Bring a list of medications and name of prescribing doctor.
  • Heart Condition – If you have had a heart attack or have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, you will need to bring a copy of your last stress test or release from your cardiologist.
  • Sleep Apnea – Bring a copy of your latest sleep study test results.
  • Medications – List all the prescription medicines you are currently taking including the strength and dosage. If you regularly take over the counter medications, such as antacids or allergy medications.
  • Contact information – Have the names and contact information of your doctors in case you need to call and have them fax missing information.

DOT Physical Exam: Things To Do to Manage Your Blood Pressure:
  • Make sure you do not run out of your prescribed blood pressure medication and take it as prescribed.
  •  Remember to take your medication on schedule. If you forget, most doctors recommend taking your medication as soon as you remember.
  • If you are significantly late taking your medication, tell the doctor conducting your DOT physical that you forgot to take your regular medication. If your blood pressure is too high, ask to have it rechecked later that day – or even the following day.
  • Cutting back on caffeine and nicotine can help improve your blood pressure; especially on the day of your physical exam.
  • Reducing the amount of salty foods you eat and avoid adding table salt to your food can also help lower your blood pressure. (30 percent of idiopathic hypertension [unexplained high blood pressure] is related to reduced potassium levels – Ask your prescribing physician.)
  • Invest in an automatic blood pressure machine. You would not drive your truck with out gauges…right? A blood pressure cuff is your gauge for your heart and circulatory system.
  •  Cut back on coffee, sodas, energy drinks, soft drinks, potato chips, etc. and do not add table salt to your food. Also reduce your use of nicotine as much as possible. Doing this can help lower your blood pressure reading.

The Day of the DOT Physical Exam:
  • Remember to bring the medical records you have prepared in advance, including your list of medications.
  • Remember to bring your eye glasses!
  • Drink water! You will need to provide a urine sample.

Getting Past ‘White Coat’ Syndrome:
  • We understand this is a very real concern for some drivers.
  • We understand that passing your DOT physical exam is important to your continued career and your livelihood, and we are here to do everything we can to help you.
  • Dr. Massarone does not wear a white coat.

FAQ’s

Here is a list of questions we often hear from CDL drivers:
What are the DOT physical requirements?

  •  The best way to understand the DOT physical exam requirements is to go through the checklist that the medical examiner goes through to conduct the physical exam. Here is a link to the FMCSA Medical Examination Report Form.
  • FMCSA Rules and Regulations: Part 391.41.

Does a DOT physical exam include a drug test?

  •  Drug testing is not part of a DOT physical exam but your company or employer may request to have drug or alcohol testing done at the same time. DOT drug testing and breath alcohol testing are additional charges.

What drugs are tested for, if a DOT drug test is requested?

The 5 Panel drug test analyzes urine for the following drugs:

  •  Marijuana (THC metabolite)
  •  Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Opiates (including heroin)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

What’s involved in a DOT physical exam?

  • The process is very straight forward. We can complete your physical exam within 30 minutes.

Why do I have to have a urine test?

  • The urine test is just a kidney function screen to test for sugar, specific gravity, blood and protein. It is performed as a means to determine whether there is an underlying metabolic condition or the beginning stages of diabetes or kidney infection.

Can I obtain a copy of my DOT physical exam?

  • Yes. We give you two copies of the long form. One for the driver and one for your employer. We will also fax the DOT form to your employer if requested. The examining doctor keeps a copy of the form for record keeping.

Can the DOT medical card be laminated?

  •  Yes. Because you need to keep it with you at all times while you’re driving, lamination helps to reduce the wear and tear on the card.

How long is a DOT medical card good for?

  •  The maximum allowed certification period for a DOT medical card is two years if you have no restrictions. A history of high blood pressure, taking high blood pressure medications, and/or taking oral medications for diabetes can restrict the medical card to one year.

How many 3-month DOT medical cards can you have?

  •  One only. You should have the condition which caused the restriction under control by the end of the 3-month window.

Is there a difference between a DOT medical and a DOT
physical?

  •  No. These terms are used interchangeably. They are most often referred to as a DOT medical when referring to the DOT medical card, and DOT physical when referring to the DOT physical exam. Sometimes drivers refer to them as a CDL physical or CDL medical.

If I do not have medical insurance can I still get a DOT physical?

  • Yes. You do not need medical insurance to get a DOT physical exam. Insurance is not a part of our DOT physical exam service and most insurance companies typically will not pay for preemployment physical exams. Payment for the exam is your responsibility at the time of service. Some insurance companies treat this exam as preventative health care and will not reimburse for it.

How much does a DOT physical cost without insurance?

  •  The fee for the physical is $150.00 paid prior to the exam.
  •  We charge the same price whether you have insurance or not.

How do overweight truck drivers pass the DOT physical exam?

  •  Being overweight is not a restriction to passing the DOT Physical exam. It is the medical conditions that being overweight eventually leads to, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney disease, that may affect your ability to safely drive a commercial motor vehicle. That is what the DOT physical exam will determine – whether you have any of these restrictive medical conditions. Getting healthy and staying healthy is your best guarantee for your life and livelihood.

What are the DOT physical exam blood pressure requirements?
Here are the medical guidelines according to the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Note that your employer is allowed to
impose more stringent medical requirements. (FMCSA Rules and
Regulations: Part 391.41)

  • A driver with a BP of less than 140 systolic and less than 90 diastolic may be medically certified to drive for a two-year period.
  • A driver with a BP of 140 – 159 systolic and/or a BP of 90-99 diastolic, has stage 1 hypertension, and may be medically certified to drive for a one year period. Certification examinations should be done annually thereafter and should be at or less than 140/90.
  •  A driver with a BP of 160-179 systolic and/or a BP of 100-109 diastolic, has stage 2 hypertension, and is a candidate for antihypertensive drug therapy. The driver is given a one time certification of three months to reduce his or her blood pressure to less than or equal to 140/90. Provided that treatment is well tolerated and the driver demonstrates a BP value of 140/90 or less, he or she may be re-certified for one year from the date of the initial exam. The driver is certified annually thereafter.
  •  A driver with a BP at or greater than 180 systolic and/or 110 diastolic has stage 3 hypertension is disqualified. The driver may not be qualified, even temporarily, until blood pressure is reduced to equal to or less than 140/90 and treatment is well tolerated. The driver may be certified for 6 months and biannually (every 6 months) thereafter as long as your BP is equal to or less than 140/90.
  •  Drivers with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, or kidney disease require treatment if their blood pressure rises above 140/90 since they already have a high risk of heart disease.

Can a driver with mild sleep apnea get a CDL?

  • Obstructive sleep apnea does not necessarily disqualify you for a DOT medical card. Treatment with a CPAP machine and some basic lifestyle changes can help you get a restful sleep and maintain your CDL.

What are the truck driving vision requirements?

  •  A commercial driver must have distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 in each eye. That means with or without corrective lenses, you must be able to see 20/40 or better, with each eye individually as well as together. Your field of vision should be at least 70 degrees horizontally, and you must be able to recognize the standard traffic signal colors of red, green and amber.

What would cause me to fail a DOT physical exam?

  • The biggest cause for concern would be high blood pressure. Another concern is uncontrolled sugar in the urine. There are ways you can manage your blood pressure and blood sugar.
  •  Any condition that would cause a loss of ability to control, operate or drive a commercial motor vehicle safely – such as loss or impairment of limbs, poor visual acuity, insulin controlled diabetes, high blood pressure (more than 180/110), heart disease, respiratory dysfunction, epilepsy, mental disorder, use of certain drugs and alcoholism. See a complete list of FMCSA rules and regulations.
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