What does a DOT Exam entail?

Anyone who drives a commercial vehicle for a living is familiar with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). However, what might not be as familiar is the medical exam ordered by the DOT for all commercial truck drivers and anyone else who gets paid to operate large capacity motor vehicles. Many new drivers (and driving prospects) wonder what a DOT exam entails.

Fortunately, the exam is relatively straightforward and Virginia drivers can get theirs done quickly and conveniently at Velocity Urgent Care. That being said, there are still plenty of questions you might have about the DOT exam.

Why is a DOT physical exam necessary?

In short, DOT exams are required for safety. The exam helps ensure that you are physically and mentally fit to make truck driving a career. Guidelines for the exam are overseen by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The organization mandates the exam to ensure that commercial vehicle drivers can do their job without health problems causing an issue.

The DOT exam helps keep everyone safe, both drivers and other travelers on the road. Though sometimes it may seem like a hassle, this process is good for everyone in the long run.

What does the DOT physical exam entail?

As mentioned, the DOT exam is fairly straightforward. It aims to get a better look at your current health status to determine if you can safely operate a commercial vehicle. A typical DOT exam will look something like this:

  • Medical history review: The physician will go over your previous medical history with you to see how it may affect your present health. This may happen in the exam room or you may need to fill out a form before your visit.
  • Vision and hearing tests: Of course, both vision and hearing are essential when driving a commercial vehicle. The doctor will perform basic vision and hearing tests to ensure you are fit to drive. Typically, you will need to have at least 20/40 vision (with or without glasses/contacts). Likewise, you should be able to hear sounds like a forced whisper from five feet away (with or without a hearing aid).
  • Cardiovascular system check: Another priority assessment is your cardiovascular system. The doctor will conduct a blood pressure screening, measure your heart rate, and listen for irregular rhythms.
  • Urinalysis: Part of the DOT exam is a mandatory urinalysis test. This can give doctors a better picture of hidden conditions like the onset of diabetes, kidney disease, and more. The test will also include a drug screening for illicit substances.
  • General exam: Along with the above tests, the doctor will perform a general assessment of all your body’s systems. It looks at everything from muscle strength to hernias and chronic pain to neurological function. Typically, this portion of the exam will be quick unless an issue arises.

How often do I need to receive a DOT exam?

For most commercial vehicle drivers, a DOT exam is only required every two years. However, those with a condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or nerve pain could be required to have an exam more frequently. In these cases, the exam is typically required every six months to a year.

What should I bring to my DOT exam?

Since the DOT exam is a general overview of your health, you’ll want to bring everything that plays a role in your daily life. For example, you should bring your glasses and/or contact lenses and hearing aids if you have them. Along with this, you’ll need a list of all medications, supplements, and herbal remedies that you currently take, including the dosage for each of them.

Finally, you’ll want to bring a copy of your medical history. Ensuring that it is complete and current will help your exam go more smoothly.

Your DOT exam at Velocity Urgent Care

When its time for you to get your DOT exam, let Velocity Urgent Care help make the process a breeze. If you are an individual driver, you can walk-in to any one of our 14 locations across Virginia at your convenience.  We’re located in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Newport News, Williamsburg, Carrollton, Gloucester, South Boston and Woodbridge. It is smart to call ahead prior to coming in to ensure a provider certified to perform the DOT exam is working at the time. Our licensed provider will get you in and out quickly so that you can get back on the road.

Velocity Urgent Care also offers flexible options for employers. Our offices can set up a corporate account that includes direct billing, corporate contacts, and specifies extra requirements for the exam based on your company’s preferences. Working with us directly ensures that all of your drivers have high-quality access to care and can get through the DOT exam process smoothly and efficiently.