dot physicals

What To Expect During A Department Of Transportation Exam

What Is a DOT Physical? 

A Department of Transportation (DOT) physical is a health examination mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. A DOT physical helps determine if a driver is physically, mentally, and emotionally fit to operate a commercial vehicle.

Commercial drivers are safety-sensitive employees; they perform a job that can impact their own safety and the public’s safety. Employers of commercial drivers must comply with federal regulations for DOT physicals.


    The DOT physical will include a health history review of the driver by a certified medical examiner (CME). The CME will also check the driver’s vital signs and perform a thorough examination, evaluating a number of health-related categories, such as:

    • General appearance
    • Extremities
    • Lungs and chest
    • Heart
    • Eyes and ears
    • Mouth and throat
    • Nervous System
    • Back and Spine

    Upon exam completion, the CME will report the results to the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME). Certified drivers will receive a copy of the medical examiner’s certificate (MEC), or DOT medical card.


      The Department of Transportation does not require sleep apnea testing as part of the DOT physical; however, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does grant certified medical examiners the discretion to recommend testing and treatment for a condition such as sleep apnea if the examiner believes the condition can interfere with the driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle. 


      • Only a CME can administer a DOT physical.
      • A DOT physical is required when a driver operates a CMV across state lines (i.e., interstate driving).
      • Employers of intrastate drivers (i.e., drivers who stay within one state) are subject to the physical qualification regulations of that specific state.
      • The National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners (NRCME) has a current list of CMEs.

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        Employees can access their patient records by calling the Concentra medical center where their visit occurred.


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        How Concentra maintains DOT compliance

        As the leading medical provider within the DOT industry, Concentra maintains a current, comprehensive knowledge of DOT rules and regulations. We require all our physicians to be FMCSA National Registry certified so our centers will always have someone to complete DOT exams. 

        Concentra is compliant with current regulations and uses the following appropriate forms:

        Additional DOT Services

        As experts in DOT, Concentra also provides a number of DOT-related services to keep employers and their drivers safe and compliant. This includes:

        • DOT Drug Testing: DOT drug screenings test for the presence of illegal drugs, alcohol, and other substances, helping to create a safer work environment.
        • DOT Policy Development: Concentra helps employers develop written drug and alcohol policies in accordance with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations.
        • Concentra's Sleep Evaluation Program: CoSEP objectively and consistently evaluates drivers who are at a risk of a collision due to excessive sleepiness.

          Concentra provides drug consortium services, too

          Anyone designated in DOT regulations as a “safety-sensitive” employee is subject to DOT drug and alcohol testing. A safety-sensitive employee is someone who holds a job that can impact both their own safety and the safety of the public, including employees in the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Federal Railroad Administration.