If you operate a heavy vehicle, such as a freight-carrying truck or school bus, you must qualify for a Commercial Driver’s License or CDL. Part of the qualification process is a physical examination with a certified medical provider listed in the national registry of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA. Let’s talk about this biannual assessment, what it involves, and where and how you can get one in Mount Ayr, IA.
What Is a DOT Physical?
A Department of Transportation physical is a complete medical examination required by federal law for people wishing to obtain or maintain a Commercial Driver’s License or CDL. Drivers who hold CDLs are qualified to operate vehicles that:
- Transport hazardous materials
- Carry more than 15 passengers
- Carry more than eight passengers (and the driver is paid to transport them)
- Have a combined gross weight (weight of the vehicle plus its contents) of more than 10,000 pounds or more
FMCSA maintains strict standards for operators of commercial vehicles because of the extra mental and physical rigors involved in transporting the cargo or passengers and because of the heavy weight of the buses or trucks themselves.
Heavy vehicles are different from passenger cars because of large trucks and busses:
- Require longer stop times and distances
- Have significant blind sports
- Are more difficult to maneuver
Additionally, drivers must be strong and healthy enough to sit and operate their vehicles for long shifts in all kinds of weather and traffic conditions. Driver health ensures maximum safety for all on heavy highways and neighborhood streets across the United States.
What Does a DOT Physical Exam Involve?
A DOT examination involves a head-to-toe assessment by a medical provider listed on the FMCSA’s national registry. The examination is good for 24 months or sometimes less if the individual has a medical condition, such as hypertension or diabetes, which requires more frequent monitoring.
At the end of the physical examination, the provider gives the driver a copy of the exam results and a Medical Examiner’s Certificate, which states the person is fit to operate a heavy vehicle.
During the examination, you will discuss your medical history with the examiner. The examiner will assess your weight, height, vital signs, vision, and hearing. Urinalysis, blood work, and an EKG should be part of the DOT physical as well.
Ensure to bring a list of current medications and any assistive devices, such as eyeglasses, to the clinic. Bring documentation of test results you have with medical specialists, such as sleep apnea physicians or endocrinologists if you are diabetic.
Who Delivers This Important Occupational Medicine Service?
At Ringgold County Hospital in Mount Ayr, IA, maintaining community safety is one of my passions. We believe driver fitness remains at the heart of our neighborhoods, highways, and safe transport of goods, services, and people.
As such, we offer DOT physicals on our comprehensive list of healthcare services offered at Mount Ayr Medical Clinic. Dr. Katie Wilcox and Nurse Practitioner, Erin Leonard, conduct our exams and ensure necessary paperwork is completed for our patients wishing to obtain a CDL license or update requirements.