Our office is licensed to perform Department of Transportation medical exams, commonly referred to as DOT physicals or truck driver physicals. We distribute DOT medical examiner certificates which are required to carry a commercial drivers license (CDL). National Registry#: 6242296056
DOT Physicals FAQ:
** Per the FMCSA Regulations**
Do I need to pick up a DOT physical form prior to my scheduled physical?
No, our service is fully automated and we will provide the form for you! However, at the completion of your physical you are responsible to take your form to the DMV for processing.
Which drivers are required to have a DOT medical certificate/medical card?
All commercial vehicle drivers who operate in interstate commerce are required to have a medical certificate based on FMCSA requirements. Intrastate certification is regulated by the DMV of each state. All states have based their physical qualifications on some of the federal requirements, but may grant waivers for certain medical conditions. Some carriers are subject to interstate regulations even if they drive intrastate. The majority of truck drivers, delivery drivers, bus drivers, EMTs, paramedics, fire personnel, and heavy equipment mechanics are required by the state of California to have a DOT medical card.
Does the DOT physical exam include a drug test?
The DOT physical does not include a drug test. It will include a urine sample to screen for potential medical conditions involving blood sugars and proteins. However, some companies may require a pre-employment drug test in addition to a DOT exam. Our office does not provide drug tests.
Will my hearing aids or prescription lens glasses disqualify me from driving?
In most cases, no. Please bring your hearing aids and/or prescription lens glasses with you to your exam. If we cannot pass you on the auditory or visual alertness screening without the use of hearing aids and/or glasses, you will have to come back another time and be re-tested with your hearing aids and/or glasses.
Will I receive a copy of my DOT physical long form or will I have to take another physical?
Yes! At the completion of your physical we will provide you with the long form. It is your responsibility to bring your form to the DMV. If you need another copy because it was lost or damaged, please call us at 916-701-3609. Additional copies are $15.
Does a DOT medical card have to be obtained in the same state as the CDL is from?
No. A federal DOT medical card is valid nationwide. You can get certified in any state, no matter which state you have your CDL. However, make sure to check with your employer’s policy.
I have a CDL and have been notified to present the DMV with a renewed medical certificate or I will lose my driving privileges. I’m not currently driving and may not drive again. Do I need to get a DOT physical just to maintain my license?
Some states will allow a CDL holder to certify in a category that does not require a medical certificate if they are not currently driving. You will have to check with your state’s DMV to see if they permit this option. This will give you a way to maintain your CDL without a current DOT medical card. If you do want to start driving again, you will have to get a new medical card, and then visit your DMV to self-certify in the category that is appropriate for the type of driving you will be doing. In the state of California, to maintain a CDL, you must have a current DOT medical card, regardless of driving or not.
Is the DOT medical card transferrable or do I have to get a new one when I start a new job?
A DOT medical card is valid nationwide. However, certain companies may have policies in place that require you to undergo a new physical exam done by their own examiner.
Is there a difference between a DOT medical certificate and a DOT medical card?
No, these terms are used interchangeably. Tomato, to-mato!
How long is my DOT medical certificate valid?
Two years if the driver meets all of the FMCSA standards. If the driver meets the standards, but periodic monitoring is required for certain medical conditions, a medical certificate will be issued for a limited time period. Depending on those conditions the period could be 1 year, 6 months, 3 months, or some other time limit. Stable and medically monitored conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, sleep disorders, are potential conditions qualified under exemptions.
What do I do with the DOT medical certificate and long form once I get them?
Carry the original medical card (Medical Examiner’s Certificate, form MCSA-5876) with you at all times when you are driving. Keep a copy of the long form (Medical Examination Report, form MCSA-5875) for your records. Even though DOT regulations state that you only need to carry the medical card with you, you’ll save yourself hassle if you carry the long form as well. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that they have a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate on file with their CDL.
If I’m employed by a company, is it their responsibility to pay for my DOT physical exam?
This is at the employer’s discretion. American Medical Response is the only company we are aware of that chooses to be responsible for the payment of a DOT physical in our office for their employees. If you work for AMR, and need a DOT physical, please give us a call at 916-701-3609 or book your DOT physical online and indicate your work for AMR.
What are the blood pressure requirements to pass the DOT physical?
The medical guidelines according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations are as follows*:
- A driver with a blood pressure reading of of less than 140/90 may be medically certified to drive for a two year period.
- A driver with a blood pressure reading of 140–159 systolic and/or a blood pressure reading 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 blood pressure reading of 160-179 systolic and/or a BP of 100-109 diastolic, has stage 2 hypertension, may be 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 treatment is well tolerated and the driver demonstrates a blood pressure 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 blood pressure reading 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 if blood pressure values are equal to or less than 140/90.
Please note: Drivers with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, or kidney disease require treatment if their blood pressure rises above 130/80, since they already have a high risk of heart disease
*Employers are allowed to impose more stringent medical requirements.
What if I’m on blood pressure medication?
Taking blood pressure medications will reduce your DOT medical certificate length to one year. Your blood pressure must be controlled and be below 140/90 at the time of your DOT exam. You will need documentation from your treating physician that states that your condition is being treated and that the treatment has been shown to be effective and that your condition is stable. We recommend you get this documentation prior to your physical.
What if I don’t normally have high blood pressure, but I have “white coat syndrome”?
We understand that this is a very real concern for some drivers. If you have “white coat syndrome”, tell the examiner. Throughout the DOT physical, we will conduct 2-3 blood pressure readings.
Can I still drive if I take a blood thinner or blood pressure medications?
Yes, you may still drive. You will need to get documentation from the physician who prescribed the medications detailing as to when the condition started, what is the diagnosis, what has the treatment consisted of, which medication(s) you have been prescribed, and if the condition stable. We recommend you get this documentation prior to your physical.
Can I get a DOT medical card if I have diabetes?
Drivers with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, or kidney disease require treatment if their blood pressure rises above 130/80, since they already have a high risk of heart disease.
If you have non-insulin treated and stable diabetes the medical examiner, you may receive a time limited certification and most likely need to recertify annually. If your diabetes is treated with insulin, you will be disqualified for inter-state driving. You may be able to drive intrastate. The DOT does have a few, very stable insulin dependent drivers testing on DOT diabetes exemption waivers.
My doctor prescribed me Metformin. Can I still drive a truck?
Metformin is typically prescribed to control blood sugar for a borderline diabetic. It will limit your DOT medical certificate to one year at a time.
What medications disqualify me from getting a medical card?
Any habit forming drug; methadone; anti-seizure medication, are disqualifying medications. The medical examiner will review every medication, prescription, non-prescription, and supplement to determine if its use will adversely affect the safe operation of a commercial vehicle or if further documentation by the prescribing physician is required.
What if I take nitroglycerine for angina?
Nitroglycerine use is not disqualifying. The medical examiner may require an evaluation and documentation by your cardiologist that your angina condition is stable before issuing a DOT medical card.
My doctor prescribed me medications for anxiety and/or depression. Will I be cleared to drive?
You will need to get documentation from your MD specifically stating that no side effects are present due to your medications that will impact your ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle. If you are currently prescribed any medications of this nature, we cannot issue a pass on a DOT physical until we have that documentation from the physician that prescribed the medication. We recommend you get this documentation prior to your physical.
Is sleep apnea a disqualifying medical condition?
Sleep apnea does not necessarily disqualify you for medical certification. If your sleep apnea treatment consists of usage of a CPAP machine, you will need to bring documentation from your treating physician before you can be considered for DOT medical certification. We recommend you get this documentation prior to your physical.