Frequently Asked Questions

What are the DOT physical requirements?

Does a DOT physical include a drug test?

What drugs are tested for, if a DOT drug test is requested?

What’s involved in a DOT physical?

Why do I have to have a urine test?

Can I obtain a copy of my DOT physical form?

Can the DOT medical card be laminated?

How long is a DOT medical card good for?

How many 3-month DOT medical cards can you have?

Is there a difference between a DOT medical card and a DOT physical card?

If I don’t have medical insurance can I still get a DOT physical?

How much does a DOT physical cost without insurance?

How do overweight truck drivers pass the DOT physical?

What are the DOT Physical blood pressure requirements?

Can a driver with mild sleep apnea get a CDL?

What are the truck driving vision requirements?

What would cause me to fail a DOT physical?

What if the DOT drug screen tests positive?

Do I need a medical card if I’m a local driver?

Who can I contact to set up an appointment for a CDL Physical in California?

What are the DOT physical requirements?

To understand the DOT Physical requirements, review the checklist that the medical examiner goes through when conducting the physical exam. Please see the link to the FMCSA Medical Examination Report form

We’ve compiled a shortened version from FMCSA Rules and Regulations. The long version can be found at FMCSA Part 391.41.

Does a DOT physical include a drug test?

Drug testing is not part of a DOT Physical exam.  If your Company requests drug testing, we do provide this service. There is an additional charge for  DOT Drug Testing.

What drugs are tested for, if a DOT drug test is requested?

The 5 Panel drug test analyzes urine for the following drugs:

  • Marijuana (THC metabolite)
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Opiates (including heroin)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

What’s involved in a DOT physical?

A DOT physical is a general, non-intrusive  medical exam. We can complete your physical in about 30 minutes.

After you complete and sign your medical history form or “long form” a.k.a (Medical Examination Report for Commercial Driver Fitness Determination), a complete physical examination including vision, hearing, and blood pressure tests, will be performed by your certified medical doctor as per requirements of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Why do I have to have a urine test?

The urine test screens the kidney for sugar and protein only. It can detect early onset  conditions like high blood pressure, early signs of diabetes, or kidney infection.

Can I obtain a copy of my DOT physical form?

Yes. We give you 2 copies of the long-form; one for you, the driver and one for the Company.  We can also fax the DOT form to your company.  Our medical examiner keeps a copy of the form for our office records.

Can the DOT medical card be laminated?

Yes, lamination helps to reduce the wear and tear on the card.

How long is a DOT medical card good for?

A DOT medical card is good for two years if you have no restrictions.  A history of high blood pressure, taking high blood pressure medications, and/or taking oral medications for diabetes can restrict the medical card to one year.

How many 3-month DOT medical cards can you have?

Only one.  We hope you have the condition responsible for your restriction under control by the end of the 3-months.

Is there a difference between a DOT medical and a DOT physical?

No, these terms are used interchangeably. They are most often referred to as a “DOT medical” when referring to the DOT medical card or the “DOT physical” when referring to the DOT physical exam. Drivers sometimes refer to them as a “CDL physical” or “CDL medical” exam.

If I don’t have medical insurance can I still get a DOT physical?

Yes. You do not need medical insurance to get a DOT Physical. Insurance is not required.Payment for the exam is your responsibility at time of service. Some insurance companies treat this exam as preventative health care and may not reimburse for it. If you have insurance and want reimbursement, we will give you a receipt to submit to your insurance company.

How much does a DOT physical cost without insurance?

We’ve seen others charge between $50.00 and $100.00 for DOT physicals. We charge the same price whether you have insurance or not. Payment for our DOT Physical service is $40.00 (Cash Only).  Business and Corporate accounts have these payment options: cash, credit card, money order, bank checks or pre-authorized company account.

How do overweight truck drivers pass the DOT physical?

Being overweight is not a restriction to passing the DOT Physical exam. The possible medical condition(s) of being overweight can eventually lead to: high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease and more. Any of these illnesses may affect your ability to safely drive a commercial vehicle. The DOT Physical exam will determine whether you have any of these restrictive medical conditions. Getting healthy and staying healthy is your best guarantee for a longer life and a more productive  and fulfilling career.

What are the DOT physical blood pressure requirements?

Here are the medical guidelines according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). Note, employers may impose more stringent medical requirements.

  • A driver with a Blood Pressure (“BP”) of less than 140 systolic and less than 90 diastolic may be medically certified to drive for a two-year period.
  • A driver with a BP of 140 – 159 systolic and /or a BP of 90-99 diastolic, may have stage 1 hypertension, and may be medically certified to drive for a one-year period. Certification examinations should be done annually and the BP should be at or less than 140/90.
  •  A driver with a BP of 160-179 systolic and/or a BP of 100-109 diastolic may have stage 2 hypertension, and may be a candidate for anti-hypertensive drug therapy. The driver can be given a one-time three month certification to allow him or her time to reduce blood pressure to less than or equal to 140/90. If treatment is successful and the driver demonstrates a BP value of 140/90 or less, he or she may be re-certified for one year from the date of the initial exam. The driver can be certified annually.
  • A driver with a BP at or greater than 180 systolic and / or 110 diastolic may have stage 3 hypertension and can be disqualified. The driver may be disqualified, even temporarily, until blood pressure is reduced to equal to or less than 140/90. If the driver obtains treatment and achieves the tolerated BP, the driver can be certified for 6 months and biannually (every 6 months).
  • Drivers with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes or kidney disease have a high risk of heart disease. Treatment may be required if their blood pressure rises above 130/80. See our article on “High Blood Pressure: Commercial Driver Risk?” for more information.

Can a driver with mild sleep apnea get a CDL in California?

Obstructive sleep apnea does not necessarily disqualify you for a DOT medical card. Treatment with a CPAP machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) and some basic lifestyle changes can help you get a restful sleep. These steps may help you maintain your commercial driver’s license. For more information on what is  required for DOT physical certification, see our news article, “Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Commercial Driver Risk?”

What are the truck driving vision requirements?

A commercial driver must have distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 in each eye with or without corrective lenses.  You must be able to see 20/40 or better with each eye individually as well as both eyes. Your field of vision should be at least 70 degrees horizontally, and you must be able to recognize the standard traffic signal colors of red, green and amber.

What would cause me to fail a DOT physical?

Any condition that may cause the loss of ability to control, operate, or drive a commercial vehicle safely such as: loss or impairment of limbs, poor visual acuity, insulin-controlled diabetes, high blood pressure (more than 180/110), heart disease, respiratory dysfunction, epilepsy, mental disorder, use of certain drugs, alcoholism, etc., may cause a driver to fail a DOT physical.

The biggest concern for drivers has been high blood pressure. Another major concern is uncontrolled sugar in the urine. There are ways you can manage your blood pressure and blood sugar. See our tips to prepare for your DOT physical.

Please see a complete list of FMCSA rules and regulations.

What if the DOT drug screen tests positive?

If the urinalysis is positive for one or more of the drugs on the 5 panel drug test, the driver will be contacted by a Medical Review Officer. A MRO will interview the driver to determine if there is a legitimate medical explanation for the drug(s) found in the urine specimen. If the driver provides appropriate documentation, a confirmation test is performed for each identified drug using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis. GC/MS confirmation ensures that over-the-counter medications or preparations are not the reported cause  for positive results. If the MRO determines that there is a legitimate medical reason for  using the prohibited drug(s), the drug test result will be reported as negative to the employer.

Do I need a medical card if I’m a local driver?

The state of California requires commercial and bus drivers to have a medical card. If you do not reside in California, please contact the motor carrier division of your state, commonwealth or country. California residents can contact the California Motor Carrier Division, DOT for more information.

In summary, a driver must pass a DOT physical and carry a valid medical card if driving a commercial vehicle that:

  • Has a gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport more than 8 persons for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport more than 15 persons not for compensation
  • Is used in transporting hazardous material

Who can I contact to set up an appointment for a CDL Physical in California

Call 323-899-0171 to set up an appointment with us for your DOT Physical exam. Walk-ins are welcome, but to ensure we’ll be available at the time you want, give us a call.