Thinking Of Driving Commercially? What You Can Expect From A DOT Physical

Becoming a commercial driver has been your lifelong dream. You passed an interview with a great company and you’re almost ready to make that dream become a reality. But first, you need your commercial driver’s license (CDL), and part of that process involves passing a Department of Transportation physical that proves you’re healthy and fit.


By knowing what the DOT requires, you can make your physical exam at Apex Medical Center in Las Vegas feel as smooth as newly paved highway. Whether this is your first time in the driver’s seat, or whether you’re preparing for your 24-month checkup for Nevada drivers, here’s what you can expect:


Vision test


As you might expect, a commercial driver must see clearly and be able to distinguish colors. The doctors at Apex check your eyesight to ensure you have at least 20/40 vision in each eye separately and in both eyes at once.


Bring any corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses for your exam, so your Apex doctor gets an accurate reading. Also, note that color blindness may cause you to fail the vision test.


Hearing test


Your Apex doctor administers a hearing test that checks whether you can hear a forced whisper from 5 feet away. If you have difficulty hearing, be sure to bring your hearing aids to your exam.


Blood pressure


If you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, you won’t be eligible for a CDL. Your pressure must be lower than 160/100 either naturally or on prescribed blood pressure-lowering drugs.



Blood sugar


If you have active diabetes that requires insulin injections, you won’t be eligible for a CDL. However, if you control your diabetes through diet or oral medications, you’re still eligible as long as your blood sugar is 200 mg/dL or lower.


No recreational drug use


Your Apex professional administers a drug test to identify prohibited substances. Using a Schedule 1 drug (including cannabis), amphetamine, narcotic, or any kind of habit-forming drug is not permitted.



Reviewing your meds


If you’re on any medications or supplements, bring the list to your exam. Even some prescription drugs may cause side effects that could prevent you from operating a commercial vehicle safely. Your Apex doctor may be able to adjust your prescription or treatment so that the side effects fall within DOT guidelines.



Remember your history


Be sure to let your Apex doctor know of any pre-existing conditions you have and share your complete medical history, including your vaccination record. Don’t hide disabilities or provide misleading or false information in an attempt to pass your physical. Doing so could invalidate your health certificate and even lead to civil penalties.


General health


Your Apex doctor conducts a complete physical examination to certify you for your CDL. Expect checks of every major organ, including:



Tests may include lung X-rays, blood tests, urine tests, TB test, and others.



Medical exemptions


If you have a medical condition, such as a missing limb or diabetes, that causes you to fail the DOT exam and you plan interstate driving, don’t despair. You may be eligible for an exemption document from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).


Get driving today


The sooner you pass your DOT exam, the sooner you’ll be able to hit the road. Contact the doctors at Apex Medical Center for a DOT physical examination by calling the helpful Apex team or booking an appointment online.

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