Drivers of commercial vehicles are required by the U.S. Department of Transportation to pass a DOT physical exam every 24 months. Your timeline may be briefer if your exam shows worrisome trends that need routine monitoring, such as increased blood pressure.
The exam is comprehensive, meaning that your physical health, medical history, and current medication list will be thoroughly reviewed and evaluated before your physician completes the paperwork required to record the exam findings. Urine studies are also part of a DOT physical.
Only qualified medical professionals with specialized certification are licensed to perform DOT physicals. The physicians at Forest Urgent Care in Long Island City and Forest Hills, New York, have undergone the certification and routinely provide DOT exams for residents of the Metro New York area.
These talented and caring doctors understand the importance of a DOT physical and what the results can mean for your job. They’ve put together some tips that may help ease your stress and even keep your blood pressure at acceptable levels as you prepare for the exam.
Get the facts first
There are many rules and regulations that govern the guidelines regarding your mental and physical ability to drive a commercial vehicle. Learning these in advance can help prepare you for what to expect during the exam. Your employer can provide information regarding DOT health requirements. The information is also available online through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
See your primary care physician for a tune-up
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, or other medical conditions in the past, check in with your treating physician to ensure these issues are well managed on your current treatment strategy.
High blood pressure, for instance, doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from driving a commercial vehicle. However, if your blood pressure reads more than 140/90, you’ll have to bring it down to pass the physical.
Because your DOT exam occurs at regular intervals, you’ll have time to see your primary care provider in advance and adjust your medications, diet, and activity levels as needed to ensure your high blood pressure and other medical conditions are under control.
Don’t forget your paperwork
The DOT requires documentation that you’re under the care of a healthcare professional for any medical condition which could interfere with your ability to drive. If you have a history of heart attack or cardiac bypass surgery, for instance, you’ll need a letter from your cardiologist stating your condition does not prevent you from driving a commercial vehicle.
You can offset delays in completing the DOT exam by bringing this information with you at the time of your exam. And don’t forget to put together an accurate list of your current medications and health history for your DOT file.
Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids
The stress related to preparing for your DOT physical and worry over the results can work against you, especially when it comes to your blood pressure. Try to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and drink plenty of fluids for several weeks before your DOT physical. It’s a good idea to practice these healthy habits all the time, but they’re especially beneficial when you’re facing a DOT exam.
We’re happy to see you here at Forest Urgent Care for your DOT exam, but may require verification from your employer. Call the office for more information.