Keeping Commercial Drivers Safe On the Road

If you are a commercial driver, it is important to stay up-to-date with your Commercial Motor Vehicle Certification, as required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. To obtain and maintain a Commercial Motor Vehicle Certification, you will need to be examined by a licensed physician, as listed in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration National Registry, at least every 24 months. Debralee Frederick, MD, of Hibiscus Medical is proudly qualified to conduct these physical examinations, so you can get back on the road!


Why Do I Need A DOT & CDL Physical Exam?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires regular Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examinations to ensure that commercial drivers are physically and mentally fit to operate commercial motor vehicles. You may need a DOT physical exam if the vehicle you drive meets the following qualifications:

  • Transports over 15 passengers, driver included

  • Weighs over 10,000 pounds and is driven on interstates

  • Requires a placard and transports hazardous materials

For more information about specific requirements, visit the FMCSA website.

What To Expect

The Interview

Similar to an annual wellness exam, DOT & CDL physical exams at HIbiscus Medical in Washington, D.C. will first begin with an interview between you and Dr. Frederick. During this initial interview, Dr. Frederick will review your medical history, including:

  • Medications that you are currently taking, including over-the-counter medications and vitamins

  • Prior medical issues

  • If you use drugs or alcohol

  • Prior surgeries

  • Current symptoms and concerns

The Physical Exam

Following this interview, Dr. Frederick will then measure your vital signs and complete a comprehensive physical exam. The goal of this exam is to ensure that you are healthy physically, mentally and emotionally, and are qualified to meet the demanding schedule required of commercial drivers. The physical exam will measure:

  • Measuring blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate

  • Listening to your heartbeat to screen for irregularities

  • Monitoring your lung function

  • Head and neck exam to check your ears, nose, sinuses, lymph nodes and thyroid

Depending on your medical history, Dr. Frederick may also screen you for sleep apnea to ensure you are getting enough restful sleep and are fit to work long hours.

Important Things
To Remember

Before your physical exam with Dr. Frederick, you will need to print out a Medical Examination Report from the FMCSA website, fill out your information and bring this form with you to your appointment. This form outlines any medical conditions and allows Dr. Frederick to better understand your medical history. Other important documents to bring include:

  • Driver’s license

  • Previous Commercial Motor Vehicle Certification (if you have one)

  • If you have vision or hearing problems: hearing aids, contacts or glasses

  • If you have diabetes: your most recent lab results

  • If you have heart issues: a letter from your cardiologist verifying that you are safe to work that includes your medical history and medications

Not all drivers who undergo a DOT physical exam will pass; however, this does not mean that you cannot be a commercial driver. Dr. Frederick will work with you to create a customized treatment plan to manage any outstanding medical conditions. Additionally, the FMCSA also outlines certain disqualifying conditions and exemption programs that you and Dr. Frederick can explore together.

If you have any questions about the requirements for the DOT & CDL physical exam, call us at 202-350-1546.


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