Cascade Health Clinic is a certified medical examiner that is listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. The law requires that commercial motor vehicle drivers obtain a DOT physical exam every 2 years or sooner if needed. The purpose of the DOT medical exam is to ensure that the driver meets the criteria of the physical, mental and emotional needs that it takes to drive long hours and maintain safety. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) allows only certified medical examiners to do the DOT medical exam.
What to Expect During Your DOT Medical Exam
All commercial drivers are required to have at least 20/40 acuity in each eye with or without correction. In addition, commercial drivers are required to have at least 70” peripheral in the horizontal meridian, measured in each eye.
Commercial drivers are required to be able to perceive what is known as a “forced whisper” at a distance of 5ft or less, with or without a hearing aid. This CDL standard equates to an average hearing loss in the better ear of less than 40 dB.
Blood pressure/pulse rate
Our certified medical examiner will check the driver’s blood pressure and pulse to look for high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats.
For all DOT medical exams an urinalysis is required. The test looks for indications of underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, among others.
The DOT physical exam will cover several different categories:
- General appearance
- Eyes (cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, etc.)
- Ears (scarring of tympanic membrane, perforated ear drums, etc.)
- Mouth and throat (to look for problems breathing or swallowing)
- Heart (murmurs, extra sounds, pacemaker, etc.)
- Lungs and chest, not including breast examination (abnormal breathing, impaired respiratory functions, cyanosis, etc.)
- Abdomen and Viscera (enlarged liver, viscera, muscle weakness)
- Vascular (abnormal pulse, carotid, varicose veins)
- Genito-urinary (hernias)
- Extremities (limb impaired)
- Spine, other musculoskeletal (previous surgery, limitation of motion, tenderness, etc.)
- Neurological (impaired equilibrium, coordination or speech pattern, ataxia, asymmetric deep tendon reflexes)
A DOT physical exam can only be completed by a medical examiner certified by the FMCSA. It is up to the certified medical examiner to determine if a candidate meets all the requirements, and to mark the report to the best of their knowledge and ability.
DOT Medical Exam Driver Exemption Programs
The Federal Diabetes and Vision Exemption Programs have specific requirements, as well as requests for hearing and seizure exemptions. These requests may include medical exams, employment history, driving experience and motor vehicle records which must be submitted with the application. The Agency will make a final decision within 180 days of receipt of the complete application.
Applying for an Exemption
An individual may apply for an exemption from the diabetes, hearing, seizure and vision standard, section 391.41(b)(3) and 391.41(b)(11), 391.41(b)(8) or 391(b)(10) of the regulation, by utilizing these programs. If you do not currently meet the diabetes, hearing, seizure and/or vision standard and are unable to obtain a medical card, you may be an eligible candidate. More information.
Please note that all exemption programs are for drivers who intend to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) in interstate commerce. FMCSA does not have statutory authority to grant waivers/exemptions to drivers from states’ intrastate requirements. Therefore, the FMCSA waivers/exemptions do not permit regulatory relief for drivers who plan to limit their operations to intrastate commerce.
- Insulin Treated Diabetes Mellitus Assessment Form MCSA-5870
- Vision Exemption Instructions
More information of medical requirements and exemptions, found here.
What to know about your DOT Medical Exam
If the medical examiner finds that the person he/she examined is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle, the medical examiner will complete a Medical Examiner’s Certificate and give the original to the person who was examined. Also, the medical examiner will keep a copy of the Medical Examiner’s Certificate on file for at least 3 years. Furthermore, if a driver wishes the Certificate to be in card form, he/she may: Purchase a separate “medical card” from an industry supplier of motor carrier forms (e.g., State trucking association) before the physical exam and ask the medical examiner to complete and sign it, in addition to the Medical Examination Report form; or Print the Certificate on cardstock paper. It is permissible to reduce the size of the Certificate. For more information please visit FMCSA.
What Do I Need to Bring to the Exam?
You need to bring your drivers license and a list of any medications that you are taking.
How long is the Exam?
The exam is about 30 minutes long, however it might be a little longer or a little shorter depending on the situation.
DOT Medical Exam Forms
Medical Examination Report (MER)
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that interstate commercial motor vehicle drivers maintain a current Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC), Form MCSA-5875 to drive. As part of the physical, drivers are required to fill out the medical history portion of the Medical Examination Report (MER) Form, MCSA-5875.
Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC)
If the Medical Examiner determines that the driver examined is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with the physical qualification standards, the Medical Examiner will complete and provide the driver with a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC), Form MCSA-5876. The Medical Examiner will keep a copy of the Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC), Form MCSA-5876 on file for at least 3 years.
Insulin-treated Diabetes Mellitus Assessment
As a part of the medical certification process for insulin treated diabetes mellitus (ITDM) individuals, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that the Insulin Treated Diabetes Mellitus Assessment Form (ITDM), MCSA-5870, be completed by the ITDM individual’s Treating Clinician attesting that the individual has a stable insulin regimen and properly controlled diabetes. ITDM individuals are required to provide the ITDM Assessment Form, MCSA-5870, to the Certified Medical Examiner within 45 days of completion by the Treating Clinician.
391.41 CMV Driver Medication (optional)
The 391.41 CMV Driver Medication Form, MCSA-5895, requests additional information regarding medications prescribed by the treating physician as an optional tool for Medical Examiners to use in determining if a driver is medically qualified under 49 CFR 391.41.