As part of the government’s responsibility to ensure the safety of our nation’s roads, all commercial drivers are required to pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam. This exam helps identify any medical conditions that could impair a driver’s abilities and put themselves and other drivers at risk. It is important to understand the medical conditions that can impact your DOT physical and to seek medical advice from your doctor or a qualified healthcare professional if you have any concerns.
Incapacity to hear and see
To be eligible to take the wheel as a commercial driver, one must possess excellent vision and hearing. 20/40 eyesight in both eyes is required, along with being free of color blindness. As for hearing, applicants should be able to recognize a forced whisper from no less than five feet away through at least one ear. Despite not being born with capable sight or sound, it is generally permissible to wear corrective lenses and hearing aids.
Marijuana use or other drugs that alter your state
As you may be aware, marijuana is a drug that impairs the user’s mental and physical abilities. That said, it’s important to remember that marijuana use is not allowed in any form for those applying for or currently working as commercial drivers. If a medical examiner finds evidence of such a substance in your system, the DOT considers you medically unfit for duty.
Heart diseases with specific symptoms
Individuals with heart ailments such as myocardial infarction, coronary insufficiency, unstable angina pectoris, and thrombosis are vulnerable to potential complications while operating a vehicle. It means you will have to refrain from obtaining an operator’s license until your physician confirms the condition won’t cause any interference in driving safely.
Disorders of the inner ear
Disorientation and balance difficulties are some of the symptoms associated with these disorders. Vertigo, a sensation of spinning or lightheaded, can be activated by head motions or posture alterations, smoking, fatigue, and too much salt intake. It is especially hazardous for commercial drivers who must remain alert while on the job. Moreover, the sedative side effects of many medications used to treat this condition can lead you to prevent you from driving.
Epilepsy and narcolepsy are two of the most common conditions that cause people to lose consciousness without warning. As such will make you lose control of the vehicle and put other drivers in danger. Before obtaining a DOT certification, you should visit a doctor to ensure your condition is under control and you have the necessary treatment to ensure safety on the roads.
Oxygen-dependent respiratory conditions
The medical examiner determines your eligibility for respiratory concerns such as asthma, bronchitis, or sleep apnea. Generally speaking, you will need further assessment by a pulmonary specialist before receiving clearance. In addition, if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and must adhere to treatment to continue driving safely. Lastly, having an oxygen tank while driving disqualifies one from being able to operate a motor vehicle under any circumstances.
Having uncontrolled diabetes
While having diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to get a DOT certification, the medical examiner must confirm that all treatments are up-to-date and your condition is stable. For those depending on insulin, an endocrinologist visit should occur before the exam, and three months of electronic glucose logs will need to be certified by your doctor. Providing these documents can help you obtain the necessary qualifications for a DOT certification.
High blood pressure
The presence of high blood pressure or hypertension, it can cause your DOT physical examiner to disqualify you from obtaining a license. Depending on various factors such as medical history, medication, and other circumstances related to hypertension, the examiner will consider monitoring. DOT has specified hypertension stages with corresponding restrictions that you must follow to maintain your license. Therefore, you must heed any orders the examining physician gives and follow them cautiously.
Ultimately, several medical conditions can cause disqualification from a DOT physical exam, and it is important to stay aware of any potential issues before your appointment. Speak with your physician and ensure that all treatments are up-to-date and all necessary documents are in order. It will help ensure you can pass your exam and continue driving safely.