What to Expect During a D.O.T. Physical

Drivers seeking a commercial driver license (CDL) now must receive their physical examinations from a federally approved participating doctor on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. All commercial drivers whose current medical certificate expires on or after May 21, 2014, must be examined by a medical professional listed on the registry. Due to these updated regulations, the examination is more complex and comprehensive. The exam will take 20-30 minutes to complete.

Medical History

There are two components to the physical: the medical history and the physical exam. The medical history portion of the exam includes questions about:

  • Illnesses and injuries in the last 5 years, including head/brain injuries; seizures/epilepsy; eye/ear disorders; heart conditions; asthma; diabetes; depression; fainting/loss of consciousness and sleep disorders
  • Any previous hospitalizations or surgeries
  • Any medications that you are taking, including over-the-counter medications

Physical Exam

During the physical examination portion of your physical, the physician will:

  • Conduct a vision evaluation
  • Conduct a hearing evaluation
  • Take your blood pressure and pulse
  • Collect and analyze a urine specimen
  • Physically examine your eyes, ears, mouth, throat, lungs, chest, abdomen, extremities and spine
  • Conduct a hernia screening (for male patients)
  • Conduct a reflex evaluation

At the completion of the exam, the physician will either complete and sign the Medical Examination Report form, or, in some cases, recommend a follow-up exam, additional tests or specific treatment for medical problems.