What Are The Main Components of a DOT Exam?

What Is a DOT Physical? Test Components & Preparation

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates that anyone wishing to drive a commercial vehicle must pass a Department of Transportation medical examination, including multiple parts.

Vision Test

Drivers must have at least 20/40 vision and discern colors accurately with or without prescription lenses.

Hearing Test

Whether or not drivers use a hearing aid, they must have the ability to hear a whisper from less than five feet away.

Blood Pressure, Pulse and Heart Check

Anyone who drives professionally must be able to tolerate sitting in one seat for most of their workday. A robust cardiovascular system, including healthy blood pressure and pulse rate, will ensure that drivers are not susceptible to adverse outcomes from long-term sitting resulting from pre-existing heart problems.


Abnormal color, odor, clarity and traces of sugar, protein, or blood may indicate underlying diseases that could affect a driver’s efficiency and stamina.

Neurological Assessment

Doctors check drivers’ reflexes, coordination, and balance to ensure they have the level of responsiveness necessary to make appropriate decisions and maneuvers while driving.

Physical Exam

DOT physical exams Rockville MD include an examination of all body parts for disease, weakness, malformation and dysfunction. During the exam, the doctor palpates various areas, including the abdomen, neck, and skin, to detect hernias, cancerous lumps, growths, loss of sensation or anything that could hinder performance.


Drivers of commercial vehicles must receive vaccinations for influenza, polio, tetanus, typhoid, Hepatitis A and B, and any other infections that the Department of Transportation requires.

Mental Health Assessment

Drives must demonstrate that they can handle pressure without losing their composure. Mental health issues may lead to erratic behavior and anxiety that may also cause dangerous blood pressure elevation.  Anyone with a history of mental illness needs a written statement from a mental health professional stating that the condition is under control. In addition, drivers cannot require prescription drugs that could cause cloudy judgment.

A DOT medical examination is a necessary and effective step that protects commercial drivers and the public.

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