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DOT Physical Exams, Costa Mesa, CA

CDL Medical Card

DOT Physical Exams to Assist You Obtain a CDL Medical Card

To be able to drive trucks and other large commercial motor vehicles in the US, you will need to have a current CDL (commercial driving license) medical card or certification, which you can obtain by passing a DOT physical exam. A certified and registered DOT medical examiner’s certificate (ME Certificate) ensures that you are medically qualified to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely and can handle physical demands, emotional stress, and intense schedule of operating commercial vehicles in any situation.

At our urgent care office in Costa Mesa, CA, we conduct DOT physical exams to assist you in obtaining (or renewing) a CDL medical card.

Our priority is to the drivers, and with our extensive knowledge of the exam requirements, we will guide you through to help you clear the exam.

Our DOT Medical Examiner is certified and licensed to conduct the exam and is well-trained in FMCSA and California’s specific regulations concerning the safe operation of commercial motor vehicles.

A DOT physical appointment at our Costa Mesa office will take around 45 minutes, or more depending on your specific health requirements. Call us at (714) 668-2505 to learn more! We also serve the Huntington Beach community.

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DOT Physical Exam

Who Is a DOT Physical Exam For?

DOT physical exams are required for both, someone who already has a general DL issued and wants to obtain NEW CDL Medical Card for being able to drive Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMEs), as well as those who already are approved CME Drivers and require to RENEW their CDL certification in due course.

Commercial Motor Vehicle drivers who require a DOT physical exam are those who:

  • Operate a commercial motor vehicle that is designed to transport more than 15 people.
  • Transport hazardous materials that require displaying a hazmat placard.
  • Operate a commercial vehicle that has a gross combination weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Are paid to operate a commercial vehicle that is designed to transport more than 8 people.
Requirements for Passing a DOT
                               Physical Exam

What Are the Requirements for Passing a DOT Physical Exam?

The requirements for passing a DOT physical exam include:

1. Vision

Standard vision requirements for DOT physicals are 20/40 sharp-sightedness in each eye with corrective lenses or contacts, and at least 70” peripheral in the horizontal meridian, measured in each eye. CDL applicants must submit medical histories regarding any existing eye condition, including glaucoma or cataract.

2. Blood Pressure

Your blood pressure and heartbeat rate will be checked by our medical examiner to look for hypertension and other related conditions. Ideally, your blood pressure should be less than 160/100 and heartbeat should be between 60 to 100 beats per minute.

3. Hearing

A CDL applicant should be able to hear a forced whisper within a distance of five feet or less without a hearing aid. Hearing aids are allowed if you can hear the sound from 5 feet away, at least in one ear.

4. Urinalysis

It is required to determine whether you have diabetes, dehydration, or any problem in your kidney, including an infection. Urinalysis is also done to check the existence of hernia.

5. Medications

The DOT physical exams require that any medications you are currently taking should not affect your ability to drive a commercial vehicle. Otherwise, your primary care physician should provide a letter stating that your health condition or the medication won't affect your ability to drive a commercial motor vehicle.

6. Physical Examinations

The physical examination will cover a range of different categories:

  • Overall appearance (weight, obvious tremors, or substance abuse issues, to name a few)
  • Eyes (standard eyesight check regarding your vision, eye movement & coordination, color distinction abilities, and the possible existence of conditions, like glaucoma, cataract, macular degeneration, etc.)
  • Ears (Scarring of the tympanic membrane, perforated eardrums, etc. We will evaluate your ability to hear (or not hear) a variety of tones/sounds on different frequencies and from varying distances.)
  • Heart (Standard checks for pressure, murmurs, unusual sounds. Remember, if you have had any heart problems, we will first require you to be signed off on your health before issuing a ME Certificate for obtaining a commercial driver’s license.)
  • Throat and mouth are (to look for problems in breathing)
  • Lungs and chest (standard pulmonology tests to look for abnormal breathing and unusual breathing sounds)
  • Abdomen test (simple touch tests to look for enlarged organs, hernia, or pains)
  • Spinal, or other musculoskeletal system checks
  • Arms and legs (to look for any physical condition that can affect the CDL applicant’s grip strength)
  • Neurological (Assesses the CDL applicant’s speech coordinate, balance and simply reflex tests)

What You Need to Bring to Your DOT Physical

Here is a list of documents that you need to bring to your DOT physical:

  • A list of current medications including dosage and timing
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Medical records that include details about your past surgeries and medical conditions including allergies
  • Any hearing aids, glasses, or contact lenses you need while driving
  • Drivers with diabetes should bring their most recent lab test results

How Often Is a DOT Physical Required?

You need to get a DOT physical examination every 2 years to make sure that you are healthy and can safely operate a commercial vehicle. However, if you have:

  • Diabetes, blood pressure, heart disease, or sleep disorder, you need to get a DOT physical exam every year.
  • Stage 2 hypertension, you need to get a DOT physical exam every three months as long as the condition is under control.
Tips to Pass a DOT Physical Examination

Tips to Pass a DOT Physical Examination

Follow these steps to pass a DOT Physical exam:

  • Cut down on caffeine, salt, and sugar a week before your medical exam.
  • Make sure your medications and prescriptions for glasses are up to date.
  • Bring complete medical history from your doctor so that our DOT medical examiner has all the information they need to recommend the best plans to pass the medical exam.
  • In case your physical exam gets suspended due to the lack of information, talk to the examiner, and determine the reasons why you are disqualified and work with the examiner to get through it.
  • The FMCSA has driver exemption programs for people with certain medical conditions that are out of their control, including impaired hearing or vision, diabetes, or other disabilities. Ask your doctor whether you can be eligible to receive an exemption.

For other DOT physicals needs and questions, please call us at 714-668-2505 .

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