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New DOT Physical Requirements for 2022

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The DOT driver physical is an important part of keeping America’s roads and highways safe. That being said, it can be a hurdle for companies and drivers, especially when the DOT changes things up on you.

We created this guide to help you and your drivers stay compliant and avoid serious lawsuits. You’ll know everything there is to know about DOT physical requirements for 2022.

What is a DOT Physical?

A DOT physical is a health exam for commercial drivers mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The goal of this regulation is to help ensure that commercial drivers are physically, mentally, and emotionally capable of the job.

Commercial drivers are required to receive a DOT physical every 24 months. This exam must be documented and the driver must have his or her medical certificate. Depending on your state’s laws, you as a carrier may be able to access this as well.

Additionally, the exam must be done by a DOT medical examiner. Most providers will have a way to find a DOT medical examiner such as UC Health has at this link.

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Who Needs a DOT Physical?

This standard is determined per employer rather than per driver. If your drivers fit under any of these categories, you need to document DOT exams:

  • Drivers are paid to operate a vehicle that carries over eight people.
  • Drivers operate a vehicle that carries over 15 people, such as a bus.
  • Drivers operate a motor vehicle for commerce between states, and that vehicle has a gross combined weight of over 10,000 pounds.
  • Drivers transport hazardous materials in a vehicle that requires a placard.

What Disqualifies Drivers?

In some cases, it’s up to the medical examiner, but all of the following can disqualify a driver from passing their exam (per this article from Web MD):

  • Uncontrolled or unstable heart conditions
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Epilepsy or seizure disorders
  • Meniere's disease, an inner ear disorder that causes dizziness
  • Vision loss that can't be corrected
  • Hearing loss that can't be corrected
  • Use of marijuana, even if prescribed
  • Use of illegal substances
  • Use of oxygen therapy
  • Certain respiratory conditions
  • Protein in the urine, which may indicate kidney disease

Everything You Need to Know for 2022

Your drivers are the ones who need to get the exam, but you’re the one who might have to pay for it if they make a mistake.

Study up on the following information and educate your drivers on it.

Before The Exam

As mentioned above, drivers will need to schedule their exams with an approved DOT medical examiner. It’s a good idea for you to provide a long list of possible examiners to your drivers. 

Remind your drivers that they need to bring the following to their appointment:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • Employer authorization form (sample accessed here)
  • A list of all of their doctors' names and addresses
  • A list of all of their prescriptions, as well as the dosage 
  • Any glasses, contacts, or hearing aids they may use
  • The following records depending on conditions:
    • A record of their blood sugar readings and most recent Hgb A1C if they have diabetes
    • A record from their CPAP machine showing proper use for at least 90 days if they have sleep apnea
    • A letter from their cardiologist indicating they’re safe to drive a DOT physical if they have heart issues
    • The results of recent heart tests, if they’ve had them
    • A letter from your neurologist if they’ve had a stroke, a brain tumor, seizure disorder, or bleeding in the brain 
    • A letter and medical records from their doctor if they’re taking any medicines that can cause sleepiness or are controlled substances
    • A letter from their doctor if they’ve lost permanent use of an arm or leg, including any work restrictions 
    • A letter from their doctor and a recent blood level and clearance test if they’re taking the blood thinner Coumadin 

What Does an Exam Consist of?

During the DOT physical, the medical examiner will ask drivers about their health and medical history. Then, the examiner will perform several hands-on evaluations, such as:

  • Blood pressure and pulse rate measurements
  • Drug testing
  • Hearing test
  • Vision test
  • Urinalysis
  • Other vitals such as weight and checking for heart murmurs

What Happens After the Exam?

After a driver completes his or her exam, the examiner will send the results off to the FMCSA’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME).

If all the tests are passed, the driver will receive the medical examiner’s certificate. Depending on your state’s laws, you may be able to access this information as well, provided the driver signed a release form.

How Can You Ensure Compliance With DOT Regulations?

Just like any other standard, if a driver is caught without a medical certificate, they’re taken off the road and you’re paying for it. You can’t succeed as a business if you don’t avoid fines, court appearances, and the loss of business that comes with DOT infractions.

A program like A-Suite Comply makes it easy to track who is in compliance and who isn’t. You get real-time alerts months in advance of a certificate expiring. You’ll never send a driver out on the road without a medical examination again.

Try A-Suite Compliance Free

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