What do I need to present for a DOT (Department of Transportation) physical?

Gay Fulkerson, MD

1. Go to the Judicial Building and pick up the physical form and card.

2. Fill out the drivers portion of the physical on the first page.

3. If you have any chronic medical conditions, have your primary care physician or the appropriate specialist send a copy of your office visits to the examiner. The regulations now state that conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, etc. must be documented as controlled in office visits during the year to qualify to drive. Blood pressure must be 140/90 or lower, and for a diabetic, the A1C needs to be controlled, (6.0-7.0 in most cases) on medication. If insulin is required, the driver must obtain an insulin waver, and driving is restricted to Kentucky. For sleep apnea, the information downloaded from the CPAP machine must show control and regular use of the machine. For a past heart attack, a yearly stress test is usually required for the cardiologist to document driving safety. Driving a DOT license requiring vehicle requires quick reflexes and alertness plus a high level of physical fitness. Part of the test will require you to perform a simulation of these situations.

4. Bring glasses or hearing aids if they are necessary to have 20/40 or better vision and/or hear a whisper at five feet. If you wear contacts, bring your contact solution and case.

5. Bring a list of your current medications and the prescriber’s name.

Each time a wreck occurs involving a vehicle requiring a DOT licensed driver, the DOT investigate to determine the factors that led up to the accident. They have found that, like all Americans, drivers are exercising less, eating more fast food, developing diabetes and hypertension at alarming rates. As drivers have become less healthy, they are having more accidents. The DOT has taken steps to try to ensure that only healthy drivers are allowed to drive. This helps to decrease the number and severity of accidents. Please help keep our roads as safe as possible. Being well prepared will get you back on the road as quickly as possible. The regulations no longer allow the physical to be done and then the testing be done if needed for medical conditions. Don’t wait until the last minute to get your information ready for the examiner.

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