DOT Physicals


Things to know about the Department of Transportation (DOT) Physical:

  • DOT physicals are required in order to obtain a commercial driver’s license.
  • Drivers are required to pass a physical exam by a DOT-approved medical examiner.
  • Drivers must have a valid DOT medical card to drive a commercial vehicle.
  • Drivers receive medical certification normally for 24 months. Your medical exam will be transmitted and stored electronically in the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS). Drivers with health issues may have medical cards that expire sooner.
  • Drivers who cannot meet the requirements for parts of the DOT physical may be eligible for a Driver Exemption Program.
  • Drivers must submit a “self-certification” to their state driver’s licensing agency (SDLA) to declare their intent to drive commercially in 1 of 4 categories. This information will be added to the driver’s CDLIS record.
  • Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) driver examinations can only be completed by Certified Medical Examiners (MEs) listed on the FMCSA’s National Registry.


Some medical conditions require that you have an annual DOT physical. If you have a medical condition such as very high blood pressure, you may be required to have physicals every 3 months while undergoing medical treatment to correct or manage the issue.

Many providers offering DOT physicals cannot treat you for any medical issues that may arise. They require that you see your primary care provider for treatment and management. Direct Primary Care Mebane can assess, treat and manage any medical conditions that arise for drivers who are, or who become, members of our practice.

What Does a DOT Physical Consist of?

The health care provider who performs your DOT physical will ask you detailed questions about your medical history, then provide you a full physical and a urinalysis.

Drivers can look over the Official Medical Examination Report 649-F (6045) that your Medical Examiner will fill out and transmit to the DOT after your physical.

How Do You Prepare for a DOT Physical?

You can fill out the driver’s portion of the exam at home if you want to save time on the day of the physical. You will also need to bring:

  • A list of all of your doctors’ names and addresses
  • A list of all of your medicines, including the dosage
  • Glasses, contacts, or hearing aids: Bring them if you use them
  • Diabetics: Blood sugar readings and recent Hgb A1C.
  • Sleep Apnea: CPAP record showing proper use for at least 90 days.
  • Heart Issues: A letter from your cardiologist indicating you’re safe to drive and test results if you have had them.
  • Stroke, Brain Tumor, Seizures or Brain Bleeds: A letter from your neurologist indicating you’re safe to drive and test results if you have had them.
  • Taking Coumadin: A letter from your doctor and a recent blood level and clearance test
  • Medications that cause Sleepiness or Controlled Substances: A letter and medical records from your prescribing doctor.
  • Lost permanent use of an arm or leg, including any work restrictions: A letter from your doctor.