Frequently Asked DOT Physical Questions

DOT Physicals for $59

What’s the difference between a DOT Doctor and a Medical Examiner?

  • There is no difference, these terms are used interchangeably. The terms Medical Examiner, Certified Medical Examiner, and CME are now being used more often than DOT Doctor because of the new federal regulation that was effective May 21, 2014.
  • Starting on May 21, 2014 you cannot go to just any healthcare provider for your DOT physical. You must go to a Certified Medical Examiner on the FMCSA National Registry.

What would cause me to fail a DOT physical?

  • 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 or auditory acuity, insulin-controlled diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, respiratory dysfunction, epilepsy, mental disorder, use of certain drugs, alcoholism.
  • The DOT physical is an extensive examination. Any disease, disorder, injury, or medication could cause you to fail if they present a risk to public safety.

How many 3-month DOT medical cards can you have?

  • One only. You should have the condition, which caused the restriction, under control by the end of the 3-month window.
  • With the typical 3-month medical card, you needed to do something to bring some physical condition under control. If you did that, and you go back to see your last DOT examiner for a follow-up DOT Physical, he can extend your card to one year, from the date of the first examination. If you didn’t fix the issue as determined by a follow-up DOT Physical, then he will not to extend the card until the disqualifying condition has been controlled per FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) rules. So get the condition taken care of and don’t have to worry about short term medical cards.

Is there a difference between a DOT physical card and a DOT medical certificate?

  • No. These terms are used interchangeably. They are most often referred to as a DOT medical certificate when referring to the medical card, and DOT physical when referring to the DOT physical exam.

How long is a DOT Physical Exam (medical card) good for?

  • A DOT physical exam is valid for up to 24 months. The medical provider may issue a medical examiner’s certificate (or DOT Medical Card) for less than 24 months when indicated by FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) regulations to monitor a condition, such as high blood pressure.

What are the blood pressure requirements to pass the DOT physical?

  • DOT Physical Blood Pressure Requirements per the medical guidelines from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Note: that employers are allowed to impose more stringent medical requirements.
    • A driver with a BP of less than 140/90 may be medically certified to drive for a two-year period.
    • A driver with a BP of 140 to 159 systolic and/or a BP of 90 to 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 BP of 160 to 179 systolic and/or a BP of 100 to 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 130/80, since they already have a high risk of heart disease.

What if I’m disqualified — may I request another DOT physical?

  • This really depends on why you were disqualified.
  • Doctor shopping used to be what folks did, but that is changing with DOT and FMCSA. If all medical examiners are following the guidelines and regulations, then it would not matter where you go, you would still be disqualified if the same situation exists.
  • If the disqualification seems unreasonable, and you feel you are truly fit enough to safely drive a CMV, then discuss the concerning condition with the medical examiner, and ask for options that may help you to be reconsidered for certification.

What about “shopping” for a DOT doctor who will be “lenient” on the qualifiers for DOT medical certification?

  • Some drivers used to do “shopping around.” With the incoming NRCME, this will become impossible to do.
  • It isn’t an issue of lenience. It’s an issue of whether you, as a driver, are safe and medically fit to operate a commercial motor vehicle. It’s about safety for you and the public at large. Do what you need to do to be medically fit to pass the DOT examination and don’t worry about finding a lenient DOT doctor.
  • Certified medical examiners are now required to understand the role of a commercial driver. The doctor who understands the lifestyle and job challenges of a driver, really wants to help you alleviate conditions that could potentially threaten not only your livelihood, but also your life, and possibly the lives of others if a catastrophic event could occur.

Can I get a copy of my DOT physical form?

  • Yes. Copies of the long form (Medical Examination Report) are available for $3.
  • Plus $5 Shipping and Handling if you would like us to mail it to you.
  • We can only fax you a copy if we have a written authorization on file with the fax number listed.
  • We don’t email medical records. Email is not a secure method of transmitting medical and personal information.

I lost my medical card. How do I go about getting another one? Do I have to do the DOT physical again?

  • No, you do not have to do the physical exam again. As long as you have a valid certificate on file we can reissue you a certificate for $5.
  • Plus $5 Shipping and Handling if you would like us to mail it to you.
  • We can only fax you a copy if we have a written authorization on file with the fax number listed.

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