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Hurricane Ida Update:

Harvey, Hammond, and Baton Rouge classes will resume on September 20th. 

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What Is A DOT Physical?

July 19, 2022

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A truck driver receiving their DOT physical.

What Is A DOT Physical?

Truckers, bus drivers, and many other CDL holders are required to take and pass a physical at least once every 24 months. These physical exams, commonly known as DOT physicals, are performed by medical professionals approved by the Department of Transportation and listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) national registry. But what exactly is a DOT physical?

Coastal Truck Driving School is the premier CDL training school in the Gulf South. With campuses in Louisiana and Mississippi, a job placement program for graduates, and ELDT-compliant programs, the best way to start your trucking career is with Coastal. Contact our office today for enrollment information.

What Does the DOT Physical Include?

During a DOT physical, the examiner will ask questions about your medical history. These questions are much more thorough than your typical doctor’s visit and include questions about the following:

  • Chronic pain
  • Mental health history
  • History of heart attacks
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
  • Surgery history
  • Medications used
  • And much more

It’s best to know the answers to the questions before your exam to speed the process along. A DOT physical will also involve a medical professional checking your:

  • Height & weight
  • Blood pressure
  • Vision & hearing
  • Nervous system
  • Circulatory system
  • Back & spine
  • Eyes, ears, mouth & throat
  • Lungs, abdomen, & chest
  • And more

In addition to the medical history and physical examination, a DOT physical will also include a urinalysis. This analysis will check your urine for any medical problems that may not be identified in the physical.

[Related: Tips for New Drivers]

DOT Physical & CDL Disqualifications

Unfortunately, some conditions discovered or talked about in your DOT physical can disqualify you from getting or keeping your CDL. But, while some things like an amputated limb may sound like an automatic disqualification, certain skill performance evaluations could grant an exception for you.

Some of the medical conditions that may disqualify you are:

  • Certain heart conditions, unless cleared by a cardiologist
  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
  • Meniere’s disease or other disorders that cause dizziness
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Hearing or vision loss that cannot be corrected
  • Some untreated respiratory diseases

Some of these conditions won’t disqualify you if you’re cleared by another medical professional or if the condition has been treated or is under control.

This list is not exhaustive, as it is up to the medical professional’s discretion to determine if your health limits your capability to operate a commercial motor vehicle. It’s also worth noting that alcoholism, the use of illegal drugs, and the need for oxygen therapy can lead to disqualification.

[Related: How to Pick The Right Trucking Company]

Start Your Career on the Right Foot – Apply to Coastal Today

As a premier truck driving school, Coastal prepares our students for every aspect of the job, from DOT physicals to roadside emergencies. Take control of your career today when you apply for enrollment at Coastal Truck Driving School. Call our office at 1-800-486-3639 for more information.