Physical Exams

An image of a patient receiving a physical exam from a medical professional, ensuring her health and well-being.

Are you an employer regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT)? If so, you are responsible for developing and implementing accurate DOT workplace drug and alcohol programs. This safety-ensuring procedure uses a physical exam for commercial vehicle operators. The point of a DOT physical is to guarantee the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the safety-sensitive employee.

The DOT physical is a check-up for people who operate big trucks and machinery for work. It’s essential they are healthy and feeling good so they can drive safely and not hurt anyone on the road. The government requires this to ensure the safety of both drivers and public travelers. 

Whether you are an employee or employer, visit  “Am I Covered?” to find out if you are subject to the DOT drug testing regulations. Or, keep reading to find out if you need a physical exam and where you can do so.

Finding a Physical Exam Near Me

For some people, going to the doctor is a big deal. This is why at Soteria Screening Laboratories, we work with trained professionals who provide quality assistance. With over 10,000 facilities spread across the country, we can help you find a suitable team for your DOT physical exam. To schedule a physical exam, visit our contact page.

How Do I Know If I Need a Physical Exam?

The following qualifies you for a DOT physical exam:

  • You are paid to drive a vehicle that’s designed to carry more than 8 people
  • You drive a large vehicle made to transport more than 15 people or hazardous materials
  • Driving a heavy vehicle with a gross combination weight rating
  • Driving a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating
  • Or, operating a vehicle with a combined weight of more than 10,000 pounds 

During the check-up, a doctor will ask you comprehensive questions about your health and medical history. They will do a hands-on exam to make sure you are healthy enough to drive safely. Additionally, they will take urine tests along with blood and hair analysis if necessary. Moreover, if you have symptoms of sleep apnea causing trouble breathing during sleep, they will provide an additional test. 

Some of the questions you can expect a DOT physical health care provider to ask are: 

  • Have you ever failed a drug test?
  • Are you experiencing any current health problems?
  • What health problems you’ve had in the past?
  • Do you suffer from things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or fatigue?
  • Do you use alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs?

They will also ask about any drug dependency, prescribed or illegal, in the past. It’s best to answer these questions honestly to test accurately and save any mishaps further down the line. Keep in mind that DOT physicals are required of transportation workers every 2 years. However, health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes may call for a yearly physical.

What Does an Annual Physical Exam Consist Of? 

A DOT physical exam will check:

  • Weight
  • Height
  • Blood pressure
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Eyes
  • Skin
  • Ears
  • Mouth
  • Throat
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Chest
  • Abdomen
  • Back
  • Spine
  • Genitals & Urinary system
  • Nervous System
  • Reflexes
  • Extremities
  • Joints
  • How you walk (gait)
  • Circulatory System (arteries, veins, and lymphatic system)

Any condition that prevents a person’s ability to drive safely will disqualify them from passing a DOT physical. For instance, conditions such as dizziness, unstable heart, epilepsy, seizures, uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressure, hearing loss, and respiratory conditions debar successful employment. 

Also, marijuana use (even if it’s medically prescribed or recreationally legal in your state) will also disqualify you from passing a DOT physical. Therefore, you must be clear of cannabis before your physical exam. Urine tests, which are the most commonly used method to test for marijuana, use can detect THC for approximately 3-30 days after consumption.

In certain cases, if you have a medical problem, your job duties may be limited until the condition is resolved. Once your health condition is remedied, you can complete a new exam. Some exemptions or waivers from the FMCSA are applied for certain conditions. However, most commonly you will need to resolve a disqualifying medical condition until you can apply for DOT certification.

At Soteria Screening Laboratories, we help prepare you for your exam and answer any questions you may have about disqualifiers. To schedule your DOT physical exam visit our contact page, email us at, or call 2026796670.

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