The Department of Transportation requires most truck and bus drivers to undergo the DOT physical exam (otherwise known as DOT medical exam or CDL physical) at regular intervals to determine the driver’s ability to drive on the road safely.
Effective May 21st, 2014, drivers needing the DOT physical can only get the exam performed by a Certified Medical Examiner (CME) listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
Dr. Trent Peng is a Certified Medical Examiner in the FMCSA National Registry. He is the sole practitioner to serve the Pflugerville area thus far and is taking appointments for DOT physical exams. Availability is from Tuesdays to Saturdays.
Below are Helpful Steps to Get the Physical Done at our office:
1) CALL OUR OFFICE TODAY TO SETUP THE EXAM: (512) 251-9686
2) FILL OUT NEW PHYSICAL FORM
In order to ensure you arrive at the exam with the necessary information and to save you time, Download the Driver Information Form here.
Print out the form and fill it out ahead of time will save you time!
3) READ THE NOTES BELOW AND BRING THE NECESSARY ITEMS TO THE VISIT:
Things to Prepare For The Visit:
If you have a medical condition we need some paperwork from you:
- Diabetic Condition – Bring a list of medications and name of prescribing doctor. Diabetic truckers may need to bring in a copy of your blood sugar results or hemoglobin A1C (a test that shows what the average blood sugar level over the past 3 months.)
- High Blood Pressure – Bring a list of medications and name of prescribing doctor.
- Heart Condition – If you’ve had a heart attack or cardiovascular disease, you’ll need to bring a copy of your last stress test or release from your cardiologist.
- Sleep Apnea – Bring a copy of your latest sleep test results, if you have one. If you are wearing CPAP already, bring the results from the past month.
- Medications – List all the prescription medicines you take, including strength and dosage. If you regularly take over-the counter medications, such as antacids or allergy pills, list them, too.
- Contact information – Have names and phone numbers of your doctors in case you need to call and have them fax missing information.
Things To Do to Control Your Blood Pressure:
- Make sure you don’t run out of your prescribed blood-pressure medication.
- Remember to take your medication on schedule. If you forget, most doctors recommend taking your medication as soon as possible.
- If you’re significantly late taking your medication, tell the doctor conducting the DOT physical 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.
- Reducing the amount of salty foods you eat and avoiding adding salt to your food can also help to lower your blood pressure. (30 percent of idiopathic hypertension [high blood pressure] is related to reduced potassium levels – Ask your physician.)
- Invest in a blood pressure cuff- you would not drive with out gauges working in your truck. A blood pressure cuff is your gauges for your body.
- Cut back on coffee, sodas, energy drinks, potato chips, etc, and don’t add 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’ve prepared in advance, including your list of medications.
- Remember to bring eye glasses (it’s surprising how many people forget this).
- Drink water. You’ll need to provide a urine sample.
Getting Past “White Coat Syndrome” At The Visit:
- We understand that sometimes blood pressure can rise at the doctor’s visit. Dr. Peng does not wear a white coat.
- We understand that passing your DOT physical exam is important to your career and your livelihood, and we will work with you here to do everything we can to help you.
- Arrive a few minutes early and we’ll have you rest and relax at the office before we start the exam.
Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from drivers:
What are the DOT physical requirements?
- The best way to understand the DOT physical 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.
What’s involved in a DOT physical?
- We are basically checking your ability to drive. Height, weight, vision, hearing, heart, lung, nervous system, muscles/bones, and abdomen are just some of the things we check. We can also perform the drug and alcohol testing that is sometimes required. We can usually complete your physical in 30-45 minutes.
Why do I have to have a urine test?
- The urine test is to test for sugar, specific gravity, blood, and protein. It’s done to determine whether there is early onset of conditions such as diabetes or kidney infection. This urine test is NOT testing for drugs.
Does a DOT physical include a drug test?
- Drug testing is not part of a DOT Physical exam but your Company may request to have drug or alcohol testing done. We are now offering drug or alcohol testing so you can handle this here as well if it is needed.
Can I obtain a copy of my DOT physical form?
- Yes. We give you 2 copies of the long-form. One for the driver, one for the Company. If you need, we will fax the DOT form to your company. The examining doctor keeps a copy of the form for our office records.
How long is a DOT medical card good for?
- A DOT medical card is good for 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-time 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, and sometimes drivers refer to them as a CDL physical or CDL medical.
Can the DOT medical card be laminated?
- Yes. We laminate your DOT medical card for you. 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.
If I don’t have medical insurance can I still get a DOT physical?
- Yes. You do not need medical insurance to get a DOT Physical. Insurance is not a part of our DOT Physical exam service. Payment for the exam is your responsibility at 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?
- We charge $65.00. We charge the same price whether you have insurance or not.
How do overweight truck drivers pass the DOT physical?
- Being overweight is not a restriction to passing the DOT Physical exam. It is the medical condition that being overweight eventually leads to, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnea, and diabetes, that may affect your ability to safely drive a commercial 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 your livelihood.
What are the DOT physical blood pressure requirements?
- Here are the medical guidelines according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Note that employers are 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 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 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 and 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 at recheck 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 DOT medical card?
- 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 commercial driver’s license.
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 without corrective lenses, or with 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?
- 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 vehicle safely – 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, alcoholism. See a complete list of FMCSA rules and regulations.