The Department of Transportation requires interstate truck drivers to possess a certain level of health. This is because in order to be an interstate driver of a truck or bus you must have a DOT medical card. This requires you to be healthy enough to pass a DOT physical exam.
You must complete a DOT form about your medical history which involves answering a series of questions about your health. The examiner will discuss your answers with you. There are specific conditions the examiner must check for. These include but are not limited to the following:
Vision: This must be at least 20/40 acuity in each eye with or without correction (eyeglasses or contacts)
Hearing: You may be given a forced whisper test which determines your hearing ability without a hearing aid. If you don’t pass this, you may be given a formal hearing test.
Overweight is a concern because this may involve more tests for sleep apnea especially if you snore. Currently, an estimated 70% of truck drivers are overweight. This is one reason why overweight or obese truck drivers should exercise to help with weight loss efforts.
There are a number of medical conditions which can disqualify you. This include diabetes and epilepsy.
Currently, different types of health care practitioners are allowed to perform DOT medical exams. That will soon change.
A new federal regulation requiring certified medical examiners to give physical examinations for commercial driver’s licenses is favored by trucking companies, but not so popular with drivers.
Every interstate bus and truck driver on the road today is required to pass a medical examination. Not only do they have to pass the exam, they also must have a copy of the medical examiner’s certificate that verifies a successful assessment.
In most cases, the certificate is valid for 24 months, so bus and truck drivers typically get a physical exam every two years. A medical examiner will issue a certificate for less than 24 months when a person has issues that require ongoing treatment, such as high blood pressure.
On Dec. 1, 2008, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced plans to create a National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners and require medical examiners to be federally certified.
Currently, any medical doctor, chiropractor, doctor of osteopathy, advanced practice nurse, physician assistant or other health care professional authorized by their state can perform the medical examination required for a commercial driver’s license. That will change when the new regulation takes effect on May 21, 2014.
After that date, the same health care professionals will need to be certified. That will require them to attend training classes and successfully pass a test assessing their competency to administer the examinations.