what to expect at DOT exam

There are several steps to be conducted on the day of exam. You should prepare and familiarize with these simple guide and know what to expect.

What will the DOT Physical Include and Check?

You will be asked about your medical and health history, including whether you’ve had the following:

  • Loss of hearing
  • Impaired vision
  • Digestive problems
  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Alcohol/Drug Use
  • Missing limbs
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Brain injuries or neurological disorders, Epilepsy or seizures
  • Heart attack or heart disease
  • Respiratory (breathing) Conditions
  • Kidney disease
  • Stroke
  • Chronic pain
  • Paralysis

What Does The DOT Physical Exam Process Include?

The physical exam itself will consist of:

Vision Test:

Your eyes will be tested, both separately and together, using a standard Snellen eye chart.

Hearing Test:

Your ability to hear, or not hear, sounds and tones at specific distances and frequencies will be tested and evaluated.

Blood Pressure/Pulse Rate:

Your blood pressure and pulse rate will be taken, abnormally high readings/hypertension may result in a shorter medical certification.


Your urine sample will be tested in a lab for blood, sugar, and protein, which might indicate hidden health problems.

Note that Drug & Alcohol Testing will be done by the trucking companies during the pre-employment process.

Parts of the Body to be checked at the DOT Physicals

General Appearance:

Marked overweight, tremors (shakes), signs of drinking/drug abuse or problems.


Will be checked for size equality, adjustment to light, proper movement and coordination. You will be asked about a history of cataracts, glaucoma, and other issues which may require a follow-up with a specialist.


Will be checked for visible signs of scarring or blockage, as well as for holes in your eardrums.

Mouth & Throat:

Will be checked for physical deformities that could interfere with breathing or swallowing.


Checked for murmurs and extra sounds, enlarged heart, pacemaker and implantable defibrillator.

Lungs & Chest:

Abnormal sounds and breathing rates. Anything out of the ordinary may require further tests, such as x-rays.

Abdomen & Organs:

Will be checked for enlarged liver & spleen, unusual masses, sounds, hernias and weaknesses.

Vascular (blood movement) System:

Abnormal or weak pulse, normal blood flow, varicose veins.
Urinary System:Will be checked for hernias.


Loss or damaged limbs or digits. Limp, deformities, weakness or other deficiencies of use in arms, legs, hands, feet, grasp and strength.


Deformities, limitation of movement, tenderness.
Neurological (The brain and the nervous system):Balance/equilibrium, reflexes, speech coordination.

What Happens After Taking the DOT Physicals?

If the medical examiner finds that the person he/she examined is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV), the medical examiner will furnish one copy of the results to the person who was examined and complete a Medical Examiner’s Certificate. The ME will also electronically transmit your medical report to the DOT, and it will be included in the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS).

If a driver fails to update his medical certification with the State Driver Licensing Agency before it expires, the SDLA will notify you that he is no longer medically certified to drive a CMV , and will downgrade the driver license to “non-CDL” status.

In the event that a driver cannot meet the requirements for the Vision, Diabetes, or Physical Impairment part of the DOT physical, he/she may be eligible for a driver exemption. Please see Driver Exemption Programs for more information.

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