What if I lie on my DOT Physical?

The Penalty for Lying on a DOT Physical

The penalty for lying on a DOT physical will vary depending on the lie that someone uses. No matter what, lying on a Department of Transportation physical can have serious consequences. Depending on the severity of the lie, it could result in a misdemeanor charge or even jail time.

The penalties for lying during a DOT physical exam are hefty – and for good reason.

Commercial drivers operate heavy vehicles at high speeds and in all types of weather. They also encounter daily hazards.

It is important to remember that falsifying medical records is a federal offense and lying during the medical examination process can be considered fraud. Anyone found guilty of deliberately misrepresenting information on a DOT Physical could face fines up to $250,000 and up to five years in prison.

It is essential for every driver undergoing a DOT physical to answer all questions honestly and
accurately in order to avoid any potential future penalties. A driver may lose their ability to work as a commercial driver if they are found guilty of lying during their DOT physical. All this means one simple thing. It’s best not to lie when it comes to DOT physicals.

What Will the FMCSA Do If I Lie on My DOT Physical?

Here are the key penalties that the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) provides regarding lying on DOT physicals:
  • Lying on a DOT physical examination has serious consequences.
  • Lying about your health, medical condition, or use of drugs and alcohol to fraudulently pass a DOT physical can result in fines, suspension, or revocation of your medical examiner’s certificate (AKA: DOT medical card, DOT med card or CDL medical card).
  • In addition to violations of any applicable federal, state, or local laws that may apply, you can be subject to civil penalties from the FMCSA.
  • Depending on the severity of the offense and your prior history with the FMCSA, these
    penalties could include fines of up to $11,000 and/or disqualification from operating a
    commercial vehicle for up to one year.
  • The FMCSA also reserves the right to pursue further criminal prosecution if it believes you have committed fraud or falsified documents related to your DOT medical exam.
  • It is important that all information provided during this process is accurate. If it’s not,
    chances are, the DOT and FMCSA will notice right away.

Yes, lying on your DOT physical could actually lead to you ending up in jail.  So, don’t do it.

When you fill out your medical examination form MCSA-5875 the questions ask you “Do
you have or have you ever had?” certain medical problems or conditions. It may seem like a harmless omission to leave off certain medications or ignore certain conditions you may have been diagnosed with in the past. But…If you are caught, the CME (Certified Medical Examiner) will likely disqualify you medically.  If it is egregious enough, the CME (Certified Medical Examiner) may contact FMCSA.  Along with disqualifying you medically, you may be fined and even barred from driving a CMV (Commercial Motor Vehicle).  This is something the FMCSA take very seriously.

The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) clearly states:

“The FMCSA medical certification process is designed to ensure drivers are physically qualified to operate commercial vehicles safely. Each driver is required to complete the Health History section on the first page of the examination report and certify that the responses are complete and true. The driver must also certify that he/she understands that inaccurate, false or misleading information may invalidate the examination and medical examiner’s certificate.

FMCSA relies on the medical examiner’s clinical judgment to decide whether additional information should be obtained from the driver’s treating physician. Deliberate omission or falsification of information may invalidate the examination and any certificate issued based on it. A civil penalty may also be levied against the driver under 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(b), either for making a false statement of for concealing a disqualifying condition.”

Legal Penalties & Jail Time.

As a commercial driver, you owe it to the public to refrain from driving if you cannot do so safely.  As soon as an accident occurs, lawyers will be combing through ALL of your medical records. Including records from your PCP (primary care provider), all of your specialists, your Pharmacy and every hospital you were seen at in the last few years or longer. All or your medical records from the VA (Veterans Administration) including any disability ratings if applicable will be subpoenaed as evidence. HIPPA will not save you when an attorney subpoenas all of your medical records.

In 2015, a driver was involved in a fatal crash in Minnesota.  He had denied his diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea to his medical examiner on multiple occasions.  His lying to medical examiners contributed heavily to his ultimate sentence of 3 years in prison.  Courtshave ruled that if they can prove that you had a medical condition contributing to an accident that was not documented in your DOT physical you will be held criminally responsible.  It is not worth it to lie or omit facts on your DOT physical. Just don’t do it!