Watch Out For DOT Medical Examiner Fraud

Watch Out For DOT Medical Examiner Fraud

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires commercial drivers in safety-sensitive positions to have a physical to ensure they won’t have avoidable medical emergencies or cause crashes while operating a commercial vehicle. Medical examiners must take a certification course, renew it as required, and follow specific steps during a physical exam to maintain their ability to conduct these exams.

As a driver, you are not liable for penalties if the medical examiner doesn’t follow the established protocol. However, it can waste your time and money as it could mean you must get a new medical exam . The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) routinely audits examiners to the extent that thousands of drivers need to redo their exam. Here are some of the fraudulent actions taken by an examiner that could affect you as a driver:

1. Providing DOT Physicals Without a DOT Medical Examiner Certification

Even if the provider holds a medical license, they may still need to complete the certified medical examiner training course to certify drivers properly. Suppose they advertise they can perform DOT exams or actually conduct physicals without the proper certifications. In that case, they may not be able to provide you with the proper paperwork. You can only get on the road professionally once you have a genuine medical card.

2. Improper DOT Certifications

Certain certified medical examiners may issue DOT certifications without performing the required steps in order to see more patients and earn more exam fees. This can mean only completing parts of the physical examination or not verifying that you, as the driver meet the medical qualifications the DOT requires to ensure safety.

3. Falsifying DOT Physical Exam Results

Examiners can intentionally change medical information for a driver’s medical certificate. They may change vision or hearing test results or weight or blood pressure measurements. They may collude with drivers to cheat the system or accept bribes to grant certification to drivers that otherwise wouldn’t pass.

The FMCSA routinely audits medical records and medical examiner practices to ensure everyone follows the guidelines. They can revoke certifications, impose fines, and pursue criminal charges against medical examiners engaging in fraudulent activities. They educate the medical examiners and the drivers about how essential complying with DOT regulations is. They clearly explain the consequences of not following the requirements. Your fate is not just up to chance. You, as a driver, can take steps to prevent complications with your DOT medical card:

Verify Medical Examiner Credentials

The best practice for a driver is to choose to get a physical from someone on the FMCSA national registry of certified medical examiners. Even if the provider is advertising for DOT physical exams, only visit them once you have verified their credentials. In addition to checking the registry, you can call the examiner’s office and request their DOT certification. Any legitimate provider should be able to produce that quickly without fuss.

Any medical doctor can provide a routine physical, but not every doctor is certified to perform a DOT physical. Not all doctors take the extra certification steps to administer DOT physicals. However, many other medical professionals can and do, such as doctors of osteopathy, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, and doctors of chiropractic.

Visit Recommended Certified Medical Examiners

Your current or future employer should have a list of vetted and verified medical examiners they recommend you visit. You should still verify their credentials independently. But seeing an examiner your workplace endorses means they haven’t run into issues with fraudulent medical cards, so you are likely to have a smooth experience. It’s also extra assurance when your workplace reimburses or pays outright for your exams with specific providers. This means they are willing to take on the financial risk for the medical exam.

Once you have someone you’ve visited that’s provided the necessary exam and paperwork for your DOT medical card, you should continue to see the same practitioner, if possible. It reduces the amount of verifying you must do beforehand and lowers your risk of fraud.

Report Suspected Fraud or Misconduct

If you find a provider on the registry list that cannot produce their DOT training certification or doesn’t seem to follow protocol, you shouldn’t ignore them and move on. They will continue to catch other unsuspecting drivers. If you suspect something, report it.

Furthermore, your examiner should follow protocol with a thorough interview and review of your medical history, medications, and medical exam. They should check your:

  • Height and Weight
  • Eyes, Ears, Vision, and Hearing
  • Mouth, Throat, and Stomach
  • Heart, Lungs, and Chest
  • Head, Back, and Spine
  • Body for Hernias
  • Limbs, Joints, and Reflexes
  • Blood Pressure and Urinalysis

They will review things in more detail if you have previous issues, take medications for a health problem, or find something on the exam. If your medical examiner is not performing a hands-on physical exam, that can get you and them in trouble later. Read more about what to expect for your DOT examination here.

Because it is your commercial driver’s license and DOT medical card, it’s up to you to ensure you are visiting a certified medical examiner. While a personal recommendation can be helpful, you should always trust but verify. Double-check their qualifications and DOT certification. Once you’ve vetted them, continue visiting for your future physical exams. Be familiar with the steps they should follow during your exam and when they need to recertify to continue conducting exams. These precautions will protect your time, money, and public safety while on the road.


For commercial drivers, certified doctors are crucial for physical exams. Watch for doctors who don’t follow the rules. Check their certification for valid medical cards. Rushed exams and incorrect results can risk safety. FMCSA monitors doctors. Choose FMCSA-listed doctors and report issues to safeguard drivers and your job. Road safety is your responsibility.

3 Steps to Avoid Fraud DOT Medical Examiners Infographic


Watch Out For DOT Medical Examiner Fraud