What Happens During a DOT Exam?

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A DOT exam is a physical exam performed for employees who need to meet requirements to work for the Department of Transportation. If your employer requires a DOT exam for you to start work, Dr. Larry Sanchez at Blue Elk Family Clinic in Nashville, IN can help.

Keep reading to find out what's involved in a DOT exam and how to prepare.

What does a DOT exam involve?

A DOT exam is similar to a routine physical. However, the goal is to assess an employee's ability to drive a commercial vehicle.

Dr. Sanchez will ask about your medical history and current health issues at the beginning of your DOT exam. You'll be asked about any previous or current health problems, past surgeries, and current medications. Any history of drug (including tobacco) and alcohol abuse will be recorded, and you'll also be asked if you've failed a drug test in the past.

The exam also involves a check of your physical appearance for visible signs of illness or injury, a weight check, and an assessment of your reflexes and cognitive function. A stethoscope and hand palpation will be used to check your heart, lungs, and abdominal region. Your blood pressure and pulse rate will also be recorded.

Other tests performed during a DOT physical include:

  • A urine test (to check for diabetes and other conditions); this test is not typically used to check for drugs or alcohol unless specifically requested by your employer
  • A hearing or "whisper test," during which you'll need to repeat the numbers whispered from five feet away to check hearing in both ears
  • A vision test
  • A hernia test, during which you will be asked to "turn and cough"
  • A blood test
  • A sleep apnea test

You may also need to get vaccinations or boosters at this time.

These questions and tests are designed to ensure you can drive safely. They can be used to assess conditions such as arthritis, epilepsy, cardiovascular and respiratory function, orthopedic and muscular issues, and mental disorders that can impair your driving safety.

If you fail certain parts of the test, you may be referred to a specialist. Some conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, that are controlled with medication may still allow you to work if you file for an exemption.

How can I prepare for a DOT physical exam?

The best things you can do to prepare for your DOT exam are to get a good night's rest and be as honest as possible throughout the appointment. There are serious legal implications involved in allowing people to operate vehicles if they cannot pass the DOT exam.

Bring the following items to your appointment to ensure things go smoothly:

  • Any medical records that help explain past health issues, along with current vaccination records or information
  • Current health records from specialists treating you
  • A list of your current medications (with dosage information)
  • Your glasses, contacts, and hearing aid (if applicable)
  • Any medical release forms you have related to a disability
  • Any recent lab tests to assess diabetes

It's also wise to cut back on processed food, alcohol, and tobacco in preparation for your DOT physical.

Get a DOT exam in Nashville, IN

At Blue Elk Family Clinic, Dr. Larry Sanchez and our team will handle all the paperwork associated with your DOT exam to make it easier on patients. Your main job will be to come in with honest answers and a willingness to address any medical concerns that come up during the exam.

Schedule an appointment today for a DOT physical in Nashville, IN.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.