Choosing To Live Better

What To Expect From Your First DOT Physical

When you first started embarking on a career as a commercial truck driver, you may not have realized you'd have to undergo a medical exam to get your license. If your DOT physical approaches, you may be feeling a little anxious and uncertain. This is normal, but in most cases, you really don't have anything to be concerned about. DOT physicals are pretty straightforward. Here's what you can expect.

Vision and Hearing Testing

Vision and hearing tests are the most important elements of the DOT physical, and it's not hard to understand why. You would not want someone who cannot see or hear clearly behind the wheel of a big commercial truck; that would be a safety risk. While you do not need to have perfect hearing and vision to get your license, you do need to have vision and hearing that can be corrected to a near-perfect degree. For example, if you are visually impaired but have 20/20 vision with glasses, you've met the requirement. Hearing is a little harder to specifically measure, but generally, the physician will want you to be able to hear a loud whisper from five feet away. If your hearing is to this level, it's good enough.

Drug Test

This is another important part of the exam. You'll be asked to give a urine sample, and that sample will be analyzed for the presence of illegal substances, including cocaine, opiates, and alcohol.

Vaccination Review

Part of your physical will also be a review of your vaccination records. In most cases, you will be required to have been vaccinated for some things such as hepatitis A and B, polio, tetanus, and other things before being given the go-ahead for your license. If there are any essential vaccines missing from your record, the doctor may administer them during your appointment to ensure you meet these requirements.

General Physical Exam

Finally, the doctor will listen to your heart and lungs, examine your limbs for flexibility and restrictions, and look down your mouth and throat for any signs of illness. They may test your balance with basic exercises like standing on one leg or hopping up and down on one foot. This is a quick exam. It's not meant to detect every little thing. Instead, it just ensures you don't have any major health problems that would make it unsafe for you to drive commercially.

A DOT physical is not nearly as scary or invasive as many people assume. Contact a company that provides DOT physical exams for more information.