DOT Physicals 101 for New Commercial Drivers

April 15, 2022

Commercial drivers and truckers will likely need to get a DOT physical once they are done training and ready to drive. To make sure that your physical goes well, you should be aware of current DOT medical requirements. In this article, we’ve gathered a few FAQs to help you learn about general health requirements, exemptions for patients, and what chronic conditions like diabetes mean for you.


Why is the DOT medical examination important?

The goal of the DOT medical examination is to make sure that each DOT commercial driver is in good enough health to operate their vehicle safely at all times. Due to the size of the vehicles and the nature of operation, drivers must be physically, mentally, and emotionally qualified through the physical exam.

Who pays for the DOT medical exam?

The FMCSA regulations do not indicate who is responsible for paying the exam fee. This is generally stipulated by employers. If you have questions about paying for the exam, check with your employer.

Can I request a copy of my physical exam records?

If you would like a copy of your physical exam results for your own personal records, you must contact the medical examiner or healthcare provider that conducted the examination. Since you are the patient, you will be able to receive a full copy of your records.

What are waivers and exemptions?

A waiver offers relief from health regulations to a DOT driver for a short period of time, no more than three months.

An exemption offers the same relief for a more extended period of time, up to two years. Exemptions may be renewed.

What medical conditions allow for an exemption?

The FMCSA allows exemptions for certain medical conditions, such as vision issues and currently treated diabetes. There are also certain exemptions for drivers with missing limbs or limb impairments.

If I already have a valid medical certificate, what happens if I develop a new medical condition after it is issued?

If you have developed a new health condition after your last certification but before it has expired, you may not be able to continue driving. In fact, regulations state that drivers with any impairment from fatigue or illness must not drive a commercial vehicle.

How long does a medical certificate last?

Medical certificates are valid for two years. However, certain medical conditions require more regular certification. For example, drivers with a diagnosis of heart disease must be certified every year.

Getting a medical examination is a crucial part of your DOT driving qualifications. If you’re ready for the next step in your journey to becoming a qualified commercial driver or trucker, book your DOT physical at a nearby urgent care center right away.

Are you a new truck driver or a commercial driver that needs to renew their DOT physical? Make sure you visit AFC Urgent Care Tampa today to get the care you need ASAP. Learn more online or simply visit our walk-in clinic to get started!

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