DOT Physical Specialist

DOT Physical Q & A

What is a DOT physical? 

A DOT physical is a health assessment that the United States Department of Transportation requires for commercial truck drivers. DOT physicals play a critical role in personal and public safety. Commercial truck drivers must have the physical and mental strength to operate a large vehicle.

During a DOT physical, Kathleen looks for signs of disease and injury that might impair your ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle. If she finds no health concerns, she provides a certificate for your employer.

What does a DOT physical include?

DOT physicals are slightly more extensive than a routine annual physical. The exam may include:

Medical history review

During your medical history review, the team asks about your family history, any medications you're taking, chronic diseases, and other past injuries or illnesses. They also ask whether you’ve ever undergone surgery.

Physical exam

The physical portion of your exam is a head-to-toe assessment. After the team records your height, weight, and vitals, Kathleen looks inside your ears, nose, and throat. She also listens to your heart and lungs and palpates your abdomen. She may also test your flexibility and muscle strength.

Vision test

All commercial truck drivers must have 20/40 vision with or without eyeglasses or contact lenses to pass the DOT physical.

Hearing test

The Department of Transportation requires all commercial drivers to have the capacity to hear a “forced whisper” from at least five feet away.


Urinalysis can detect the presence of numerous underlying conditions, including diabetes and kidney disease. While a DOT physical doesn’t include a drug test, your employer may require one before your start date.

What happens after a DOT physical?

If Kathleen finds that you’re physically fit to drive a commercial vehicle or fly a commercial aircraft, she can complete a medical examiner’s certificate. You should receive your commercial driver’s license (CDL) or FAA license after the exam. 

Some individuals need additional testing after a DOT physical. Kathleen may recommend returning for blood work, imaging scans, or another physical to ensure you receive your commercial license. 

To learn more about the DOT physical exam, call Broadway Healthcare: Kathleen Broderick Logan, FNP, or schedule an appointment online today.