DOT Physical Exam

What is the purpose of the DOT physical exam?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) physical exam is required to help ensure that a person is medically qualified to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). In the interest of public safety, CMV drivers are held to higher physical, mental and emotional standards than passenger car drivers.

Who can perform DOT physical exams?

Beginning May 21, 2014, all new USDOT physical exam must be performed by a qualified health professional listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners website.

Carris Health's certified DOT physical examiners include:

Are CMV drivers who operate in interstate commerce required to have a medical certificate?

Drivers are required to have a DOT Medical Certificate:

  • If they operate a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), gross combination weight rating (GCWR), gross vehicle weight (GVW), or gross combination weight (GCW) of 4,536 kilograms or more in interstate commerce.
  • If they operate a motor vehicle designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers (including the driver) in interstate commerce.
  • If they operate a motor vehicle designed or used to transport between 9 and 15 passengers, for direct compensation, beyond 75 air miles from the driver's normal work-reporting location, in interstate commerce.
  • If they transport hazardous materials, in a quantity requiring placards, in interstate commerce.

How often does a driver have to go in for a physical exam?

A commercial driver, which includes CDL and non-CDL drivers, must be medically certified at least once every 24 months. The original or a photocopy of the medical examiner's certificate must be provided to the driver to carry. Another copy must be given to the motor carrier to retain in the driver's qualification file.

Some drivers may be issued a certificate which is valid for less than two years if there are any health concerns. The regulations require a medical examiner to issue a certificate with an expiration date based on the Medical Advisory Criteria if the driver has high blood pressure or is currently on high blood pressure medication. A medical examiner may also issue a card for a shorter time frame based on his/her own discretion if he/she has a concern about the driver's abilities.