What Are the Rules for DOT Physical Exams?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets strict rules for truck drivers. One of the requirements drivers must meet is completing a physical exam at regular intervals.

This exam helps to ensure drivers are healthy and in good enough physical condition to drive safely. The FMCSA sets the standard for the exams.

FMCSA Requirements

According to the FMCSA, DOT physical exams are valid for up to 24 months, but the doctor can require more frequent examination if the driver has specific health conditions that require ongoing monitoring. A driver must use a licensed medical examiner who is on the FMCSA National Registry.

During the exam, the doctor must check the following:

  • Vision with color blindness test
  • Blood pressure
  • Hearing
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Physical endurance

The doctor must also do a complete review of the driver’s medical history, assess any medications he or she takes, and complete a urinalysis to check for underlying medical issues during DOT physical exams Rockville MD.

A driver must have at least 20/40 vision, a blood pressure of less than 140/90, a good range of motion, overall physical fitness, and the ability to climb and conduct physical duties of the job. Any medications the driver takes cannot affect the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.

The driver must also disclose all details about his or her medical history, including any ongoing conditions, diabetes, sleep disorders, substance abuse issues, epilepsy, and surgeries.


It is possible to pass the DOT physical exam with certain health conditions, but it does require securing an exemption. Drivers may secure exemptions for:

  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Seizures

It does require completing the exemption paperwork, including providing driving records, employment history, medical exams, and driving experience reports.

Wrap Up

The DOT physical exam is not optional. To secure a CDL in any state, a driver must complete the exam and pass it within FMCSA standards.