Get Your DOT Medical Card/Health Card After a Department of Transportation Physical

Having a DOT medical card is crucial for maintaining great standing with the FMCSA and DOT. Don't get confused if you hear some people call this medical card a “DOT health card.” Both terms refer to the same official DOT card. A medical DOT card is important for proving that you have medical documentation. The card is for all US drivers of commercial vehicles. Say you're a company that needs to keep its CMV drivers on the road. In this case, each driver must get a Department of Transportation physical. Once a valid physical takes place, a driver can receive a DOT health card. 

The key is to schedule a DOT physical well in advance. That’s because waiting on an appointment with a doctor can take days or weeks. Your business will lose money if a driver cannot work for a while. You're not alone in your mission to secure a DOT medical card. The Moving Authority team is here to help you receive your card ASAP. Please call us at any time if you have questions about getting the DOT health card. We can even help you find a DOT- and FMCSA-certified clinician. This way, you can complete your DOT physical exam and apply for the card.

What Is the Purpose of a Medical DOT Card?

The Department of Transportation is strict about which drivers can operate their vehicles. That’s why the DOT enforces that each CMV driver must have a physical examination. (CMV refers to a commercial motor vehicle.) Once a driver passes an exam, he or she becomes qualified to operate a CMV. 

Sure, the common term for this card is a “DOT medical card” or “medical DOT card.” (And also a “DOT health card.”) But this certification is less of an actual card. Instead, think of it as an official DOT document. This document’s known as the DOT Medical Examiner’s Certificate. The DOT will award a driver with one after a physical exam takes place. That exam must get conducted by a qualified ME: medical examiner.

Commercial Motor Vehicle Certification Through a DOT Medical Exam

Let’s go over more information about the DOT medical exam. A licensed medical examiner must conduct the DOT physical examination. The FMCSA website features its National Registry of medical examiners. (FMCSA refers to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.) Do not worry about finding a licensed health examiner. Many different types of doctors can conduct the DOT health exam. In fact, even the majority of advanced practice nurses can execute it. Every DOT physical exam remains valid for up to 24 months. Sometimes, a medical examiner will provide a certificate for fewer than 24 months. This happens when a medical examiner wants to track a health condition. As an example, high blood pressure is a common health condition that gets monitored.

If you have any questions about the medical DOT card, please contact Moving Authority. One of our DOT compliance experts will assist you and your company. You might also want to use the FMCSA as a resource for medical card questions. You can find more information on the FMCSA website or also give them a call. Now, let’s continue going over the basics of the DOT’s medical card.

Preparing for Your DOT Health Card Examination

It’s simple to prepare for a DOT medical/health card examination. One key step is to know how much you’ll pay for the exam in advance. You can do so by calling the facility that will conduct your DOT health exam. The costs will vary but don't expect to pay much more than about $125 for all services. 

Here’s a step that we recommend drivers take before arriving at a health care center. The drivers should fill out the driver section of a medical examination report. This will save time once each driver arrives at a health care center. Drivers should also have a list of medications that they use. If a driver has vision problems, the driver should provide vision/eyeglasses information. A driver must maintain honesty if he or she has a specific chronic condition.

DOT Health Physicals

The Department of Transportation physical functions as an official health examination. This DOT health exam gets mandated through the FMCSA. And the physical/exam applies to all commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. A DOT health physical will ensure that a driver has the capability for operating a CMV. The DOT physical focuses on the physical, mental, and emotional status of each driver. 

Do you work as a commercial driver in the US? If so, the FMCSA classifies you as a “safety-sensitive employee.” Because of this, the FMCSA ensures that you must complete and pass your DOT physical. Otherwise, you cannot maintain a valid CDL: commercial driver’s license. The DOT physical is not only about the safety of the public. It’s about your own safety too.

What Happens During a DOT Health Card Physical?

Receiving a DOT health card physical is a simple process. A CME (certified medical examiner) begins by checking the vital signs of a driver. Then, the CME reviews the medical history of the driver. The final step of the DOT physical is receiving a hands-on physical examination. A CME will assess the driver’s appearance, eyes, ears, mouth and throat. But that’s not all. Each CME also examines the heart, lungs, chest, nervous system, hernias, back, and spine. Say that a CMV driver passes the DOT medical card physical. That’s when a CME provides a driver with an MEC: medical examiner’s certificate. Don't get confused about this medical certificate. “MEC” is another term for the DOT medical card. And it’s crucial for a driver to have an active DOT medical card. Without an active card, a driver could lose his or her CDL.

The DOT health card/driver physical examination also includes some other processes. These include a DMV eye exam, urine test, hearing test, and a heart test. Get prepared for the CME to conduct a detailed review of your medical and health history. Try to maintain honesty and never hide a medical condition from a CME. This is for the safety of yourself and the safety of the public.

Receiving Your DOT Health Card

Say that a driver passes a DOT physical card exam. Medical professionals will fill in all information. They will complete a medical exam report of the driver. The medical professionals should also take care of filing documentation and forms. Remember, all DOT physical requirements must get put in place. Otherwise, a driver cannot secure a Commercial Driver’s License DOT health card. Successful completion of a DOT medical card exam leads to state certification. The state of the commercial driver can renew a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). This applies to all truck drivers operating commercial trucks across the US.

How Do I Know If I’ll Need a DOT Physical?

Almost all commercial drivers in the US must complete and pass the DOT physical. The medical DOT exam is for drivers operating a vehicle for interstate commerce. A gross combination weight of a commercial vehicle has to exceed 10,000 pounds. A medical DOT exam is also for drivers transporting more than 15 people in a motor vehicle. Most people who get paid for transporting even 8 people in a vehicle need the DOT exam. Are you a driver transporting hazardous materials and your vehicle’s placarded? If so, you must also receive a medical DOT exam/physical.

What Is a DOT Medical Card Used For?

Each CDL driver in the US has to secure a DOT medical card. Without the card, a CDL driver cannot operate a commercial motor vehicle. A DOT card provides medical proof that drivers meet DOT and FMCSA safety standards. Plus, the medical card proves that a driver doesn’t have certain health issues. This way, the safety of other US motorists stays protected.

What Is Required To Get a DOT Medical Card?

Every DOT physical must ensure that a driver has 20/40 vision. This DOT rule applies with or without using corrective lenses. The DOT demands that drivers have to see at least 20/40 using both eyes. Or, drivers must see at least 20/40 from either the right eye or left eye. Are you a CMV driver with mono-vision? If so, you might get disqualified from securing a DOT health/medical card.

What Can Cause You To Fail a DOT Physical?

Many situations can take place in which a CMV driver fails a DOT medical exam. Sometimes, the driver could have prevented the rejection of the DOT and FMCSA. Otherwise, failing a DOT physical is out of a driver’s control. Common medical reasons for failing include high blood pressure, epilepsy, and diabetes. Drug use, alcoholism, missing extremities, and poor eyesight/hearing are other reasons. 

Some CMV drivers have diseases that prevent them from operating commercial vehicles. These include cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, and psychiatric diseases. Keep in mind that some of these conditions might not ensure that you fail the DOT physical. Leave it up to a medical professional to assess if you meet DOT safety precautions.

Contact Moving Authority for Help Securing DOT Health & Medical Cards

Do you or your business need more information about getting DOT health/medical cards? If so, the Moving Authority team is standing by to help you out. Our trucking industry experts can do it all. From assisting you in finding a local medical center to going over FMCSA and DOT rules. All you've got to do is give us a call at any moment. And you're also welcome to send a message on our website or email us. We look forward to helping you get your medical DOT card ASAP.

For references on how to obtain compliance in Texas, see "Texas DOT Number".

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