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Getting A CDL – Do You Understand the DOT Physical?

eGears has been answering YOUR CDL questions over the last few weeks.  Today, we received another frequently asked question about getting a CDL that’s worth taking a look at….

Love Prosper writes:
Do I need to take the DOT (physical) before I get the CDL?  If so, where?


Our Response:
Yes, you will need to successfully pass the DOT physical in order to get your Commercial Driver’s License.  The Department of Transportation requires that every CDL driver meet the basic DOT medical requirements.  This is done with the intention of improving the safety of not only the CDL driver, but the other drivers sharing the road.  In most states, a perspective CDL driver must hold a valid DOT medical card before a CDL permit can be issued.  Get more information on understanding the DOT physical here.

As far as locations, see the below excerpt from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website:

To find a medical examiner to conduct the DOT physical exam you may contact your primary care provider to inquire if they will conduct a “DOT physical exam.” You may also find a medical examiner in the yellow pages of your telephone book, or on the Internet by using an Internet directory or search engine. Look under “Occupational Health.” If your medical examiner does not have a Medical Examination Report, one may be downloaded.

For more information on DOT physical requirements, watch the video below:

Here are some of the basic medical requirements covered in the video:

  • A CDL driver must have 20/40 correctable vision in each eye.
    The key here is correctable vision and that means eye glasses or contact lenses are OK.
  • A CDL driver cannot be a diabetic requiring needle-injected insulin.
    Diabetes controlled by diet may be permissible.
  • A CDL driver’s blood pressure must be 160 over 90 or less for a 24 month DOT Medical Certificate.
      Additional blood pressure standards:

    • 140-159/90-99 – 12 month certificate
    • 160-179/100-109 – 3 month temporary certificate
    • Over 180/110 – DOT disqualifier
    • In some instances, a prescription blood pressure drug can be used to control high blood pressure.

  • The blood sugar level of a CDL driver must be under 200.
  • The use of a narcotic or any other habit forming drugs will prevent you from passing the DOT physical.
  • And a current diagnosis of any cardiovascular disease or cardiac issues may require you to provide additional information from your doctor.
Other Possible Medical Factors Impacting The DOT Physical:

There are some other conditions or factors that may be revealed during the DOT physical exam that could prevent a driver from obtaining the DOT medical card.

Those conditions include:

  • Sleep apnea
  • A recent back injury
  • A recent major surgery
  • A current hernia

Note: These are just some basic guidelines and subject to change. If you have any concerns about the information mentioned above, contact your primary doctor to determine if you meet the DOT Physical requirements.

Post By derekmcclain (103 Posts)

Derek McClain is a blogger with eGears and active voice in the transportation industry. Derek has worked in the online marketing industry for over 7 years and is dedicated to using online tools to help commercial drivers learn more about the transportation industry, lifestyle and training options through his blog. You can Connect with Derek on Google+ here

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  • cidg

    I don’t have a cdl do i need to take a dot drug screen?