What is the DOT Physical Exam?

The DOT in the name stands for the Department of Transportation, a test specifically designed for Commercial Drivers, and mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA. The exam is intended for anyone with a Commercial Driver's License or CDL.

In order to comply with the law, the exam must be performed by a qualified examiner, like those at Sunshine Urgent Care. 

Who Technically Needs a DOT Exam?

You may not need to take a DOT Physical Exam for a CDL job, but the positions below are included:

  • If your job requires you to operate a vehicle designed to fit more than fifteen (15) people, like a school bus or charter bus.
  • Your position requires you to operate a vehicle built to hold more than eight (8), people
  • Operation of a motor vehicle with a total combination weight rating, cumulative vehicle weight, gross vehicle weight rating, or a total combined weight of over 10,000 pounds, such as a cross-country delivery truck or a UPS, FedEx, or Amazon delivery vehicle.
  • Your job includes driving a hazardous materials vehicle that requires hazard placards, like gasoline, concrete, or trucks filled with other volatile elements.
  • Or if your employer requires you to take the DOT Exam.

What Does a DOT Physical Exam Consist Of?

What does a DOT physical exam consist of | Doctor taking notes about the exam
A DOT Physical Exam includes Vision, Hearing, Neurological, Cardiovascular, blood pressure, and urine testing.

The DOT exam consists of two parts: the physical exam and a questionnaire. The physical exam begins with the practitioner going over your medical history. Then you'll be asked questions about your current and frequent medications, your drug history, and history of medical complications. You'll also have a couple of physical tests.

Blood Pressure

During a DOT Physical Exam, the practitioner will take your blood pressure, to look for high blood pressure or irregular heartbeats, including heart murmurs, pacemakers, and other arrhythmias.

Vision Test

This testing will look for poor eyesight, cataracts, glaucoma, and even macular degeneration. Average sight and peripheral vision are essential.

Hearing Test

To qualify, you'll need to be able to pass a 'forced whisper' test to see if you can hear quiet sounds around you. This test is looking for problems like hearing loss, tinnitus, perforated eardrums, and scarring of the inner ear.


Also known as a urine test, this urinalysis check includes a drug screening and checking for underlying conditions such as diabetes.

Neurological Screening

The DOT Exam also checks for neurological disorders, including epilepsy and narcolepsy. You may be disqualified from being able to pass the exam with these conditions.

Cardiovascular Screening

The cardiovascular screening checks for cyanosis, abnormal breathing, carotid, varicose veins, and other signs of blood and lung-related issues that may impair your ability to operate large and dangerous vehicles.

Other Physical Testing

The practitioner will also check your abdomen, mouth, and throat for other complications, including:

  • An enlarged liver
  • Extremities for reduced motor function
  • Spinal injuries, tenderness, and other issues
  • Impaired equilibrium
  • And check for any trouble breathing or swallowing

What Do I Do If I Fail the Exam?

Even if you fail the exam, you may be able to pass it again soon, depending on what disqualified you. Talk to your doctor about what you need to change to pass the exam. You may also qualify for one of the FMCSA driver exemption programs. These are usually given to people with diabetes, impaired vision, or other disabilities that can be treated with medical technologies like glasses or hearing aids.

What Happens After I Pass The Exam?

You should receive a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC), showing that you’ve passed the DOT exam. Once you have that certificate, you should be able to turn it into your employer and continue with your annual review, or the hiring process.

What Do I Need to Bring to a DOT Exam?

Bring any accounts of your medical history you have to help speed up the process of filling out your paperwork, including your current and frequent medications. Drink at least 8 ounces of water the day before the examination, but try not to drink over a liter.

DOT physical exam requirements Sunshine Urgent Care | Doctor looking at paperwork
If you have diabetes, you’re not automatically disqualified--you just need to bring in extra paperwork.

Insulin-Treated Diabetes

If you happen to have diabetes and take insulin to treat it, you’ll need the Insulin-treated Diabetes Mellitus Assessment Form, also known as MCSA-5870, to pass the exam. Please call us at (863) 777-2740, and we can help set that form up for you before you arrive.

DOT Physical Exam in Lakeland, FL - Sunshine Urgent Care

If you have any questions, please contact us via web form or by phone at (863) 777-2740. You can schedule your DOT Physical Exam at Sunshine Urgent Care.

For business owners and CTOs, please give us a call and we can help arrange DOT Exams for your staff.