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What guidelines must DOT medical examiners follow during physicals?

Department of Transportation (DOT) physicals are unlike any other routine physical examination. A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) certified medical examiner must conduct the exam. The entire exam and documentation must follow strict procedures. To learn more about who sets the guidelines and what they are, see what our readers have to say about it.



FMCSA Guidelines For Medical History, Physical, and Blood Pressure

In addition to meeting the qualification for a routine physical, those seeking their medical card for CDL driving must pass some additional testing that must be administered by a healthcare provider who is registered with FMCSA and has passed the test to do the examinations.

Some of those additional tests are hearing tests; a forced whisper must be able to be heard at a distance of five feet or greater. If there is any concern with this, audiometry should be used, in which an average hearing loss may not exceed 40 decibels. Those with hearing aids unable to pass with a forced whisper should be referred to audiology for clearance.

Vision- Corrective lenses should be worn for examination if they are needed, and this must be indicated on the certificate. Distance visual acuity must be at least 20/40 Snellen. Drivers must be able to distinguish the colors red, amber, and green. A peripheral vision field of at least 70 degrees is necessary.

Blood pressure must be below 139/89 for a two-year medical card; if the driver takes medication to control blood pressure, they are only eligible for a one-year medical card, and their blood pressure must fall under the same 139/89.

Smokers over the age of 35 need to have spirometry testing, [and] FEV must be at least 65% of the predicted value.

A comprehensive history is key, as there are many mandatory waiting periods and monitoring necessary for conditions and medical events such as stroke, heart attack, aneurysm, and [recent] surgery.

A drug test is not often part of a DOT medical exam unless the practitioner is concerned about drug use. However, most employers require a drug test.

Jon Morgan

Jon Morgan

CEO and Editor-in-Chief of .

FMSCA’s Guidelines For Assessing Health-Related Safety Risk and Documentation

Medical examiners must adhere to the guidelines outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) when conducting DOT physicals. These guidelines are designed to assess the overall health and well-being of CMV drivers and maintain safety standards on the roads.

During the DOT physical, medical examiners are required to evaluate several key areas. These include reviewing the driver’s medical history, conducting a physical examination, and performing specific tests. The medical history review involves assessing the driver’s prior medical conditions, surgeries, and medications, as well as any relevant information regarding the driver’s overall health and well-being.

The physical examination includes assessing various aspects of the driver’s health, such as vision, hearing, blood pressure, cardiovascular fitness, respiratory function, and neurological health. Additionally, medical examiners must also evaluate the driver’s musculoskeletal system, including strength, range of motion, and any impairments or disabilities that could affect their ability to operate a CMV safely.

Furthermore, specific tests, such as urine analysis, may be required to screen for drugs or alcohol. Medical examiners must also ensure that drivers meet the necessary requirements for specific medical conditions, such as diabetes or sleep apnea, by reviewing and evaluating appropriate documentation and treatment plans.

To ensure that the DOT physical report is accurate, medical examiners must document their findings thoroughly and accurately. They must complete the Medical Examination Report (MER) Form, including all relevant information and any necessary recommendations or restrictions for the driver. This report must be provided to the driver, the employing motor carrier, and the FMCSA as required.

Adam Ng

Adam Ng

CEO and Founder of .

DOT Guidelines For Hearing, Vision, Cardiovascular Health, and Qualification Status

Medical examiners conducting DOT physicals must adhere to specific guidelines outlined by the Department of Transportation (DOT). These guidelines ensure the safety and well-being of commercial drivers and help determine their medical fitness for performing safety-sensitive duties.

Some key guidelines include assessing the driver’s medical history, conducting a thorough physical examination, and evaluating specific criteria such as vision, hearing, cardiovascular health, and substance abuse.

One crucial guideline for medical examiners during a DOT physical is to follow the regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations provide clear instructions regarding the examination process, the required medical forms, and the criteria for determining a driver’s qualification status. It is essential for medical examiners to stay updated on any changes or updates to these guidelines to ensure accurate and compliant evaluations.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors’ statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.