Man transports packages from a delivery truck.

Concentra Performing DOT Exams for COVID-19 Asymptomatic Drivers

By Michelle Hopkins | 04/08/2020

The volume of goods being transported by truck, particularly to grocery stores, in response to the coronavirus pandemic is “unfathomable,” says the president and CEO of one state trucking association.1 Help is coming from all directions to keep truck shipment of essential goods in high gear. Concentra® is on the front lines of ensuring the safety of those shipments, drivers, and the public by providing:

  • Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exams and certification for all commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders
  • Breath alcohol testing (BAT) and urine drug screening (UDS) collections for controlled substance testing, which is still required under FMCSA regulations for the following situations:
  • Pre-employment testing
  • Post-accident testing
  • Reasonable suspicion
  • Return-to-duty
  • Follow-up testing

Three vital reminders

  1. To undergo a DOT exam or substance testing or collections, an individual must pass the COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire by not showing any symptoms of the coronavirus. A current or prospective employee who shows any COVID-19 symptoms will receive documentation to explain why an exam or testing/collections cannot occur, and the employer will be notified that the individual is a “person under investigation” (PUI) for the coronavirus.
  2. Concentra clinicians will not advise or tell a driver whether he or she meets the conditions of a limited waiver issued in March by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), effective until June 30, 2020. That decision must be made by the employer, the driver(s), the state licensing agency, and the FMCSA.
  3. Concentra has implemented enhanced cleaning protocols, advanced clinic triage, and additional measures to ensure health and safety at all of its medical centers. Current and prospective employees need not worry about exposure to the virus by the facility; further, Concentra centers are not conducting routine COVID-19 testing.

Concentra, a most-trusted workplace health provider

In 2019, Concentra performed approximately one million DOT exams and about half that many pre-placement exams, in addition to a host of other physical exams, tests and screening to fulfill all the many types of occupational health and safety needs. 

This is good news for the nearly $800 billion trucking industry, which is a lifeline for the nation during the coronavirus pandemic even more than before.2 There is no reason to delay recertification until after the FMCSA waiver is lifted, when there could be long lines of drivers in need of exams, testing, or certification.

Concentra makes DOT certification and results reporting easy because it is administered electronically in a paperless environment. You get results faster and employers see results through Concentra’s employer portal.

FMCSA waiver is limited in scope and circumstances

The full text of the FMCSA’s waiver in response to the COVID-19 emergency is available here. The waiver applies to certain regulations for interstate and intrastate commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders, as well as other interstate operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). But it is limited in scope. 

Here are the only persons and circumstances to which the waiver applies:

CDL and CLP holders whose valid medical certification (for 90 days or longer) expired on or after March 1, 2020 can postpone (a) their required medical exam and certification and (b) providing state licensing agencies a copy of their medical examiner’s certificate. The waiver also enables state licensing agencies to NOT change a driver’s status to “not certified,” but only for drivers with a valid medical certification that expired on or after March 1.

While the FMCSA waiver allows postponement of these requirements for limited individuals, there is no requirement to do so. All drivers, even those covered by the waiver, can continue to fulfill their exam and certification requirements now at a Concentra medical center. To find a location and hours, visit our Location Finder.  

Six circumstances where the waiver does not apply

The waiver does not apply in all cases, which means requirements for the following groups to obtain a DOT exam and medical certification have not changed during the coronavirus national emergency: 

  1. CDL, CLP, or non-CDL drivers whose medical certifications expired before March 1, 2020
  2. Drivers who did not have a medical examiner’s certificate prior to March 1, 2020 and need to be certified for the first time
  3. Drivers who have had their medical examiner’s certificate for less than 90 days
  4. Drivers who have developed a disqualifying medical condition since their last medical examiner’s certificate was issued
  5. Drivers who, since their last medical examiner’s certificate was issued, have developed a medical condition that requires an exemption or Skill Performance Evaluation
  6. Any driver whose ability to perform normal duties has been impaired by a physical or mental injury or disease

If a driver is unable to visit a primary care physician or specialist for clearance paperwork or needed tests, the medical examiner has the discretion to issue a short-term certification to allow time to get this done, if the condition in question is stable.

What a DOT exam covers

Drivers who are getting a DOT exam for the first time often will ask what a DOT exam covers. The exam, which is required for all employees in safety-sensitive positions, must be performed by a medical examiner listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. The exam is needed to rule out any DOT disqualifying medical conditions.

The exam is thorough and assesses:

  • General appearance 
  • Visual acuity 
  • Hearing and/or any evidence of ear disease
  • Throat conditions that might compromise breathing or swallowing
  • Heart irregularities or disease 
  • Blood pressure 
  • Lungs
  • Abdominal weakness, tenderness, or enlargement
  • Urinalysis  to assess protein, blood, and sugar levels
  • Spine and musculoskeletal exam
  • Upper and lower extremity exam to identify any impairment or loss of function in legs, feet, toes, arms, hands, or fingers.
  • Neurological exam to assess mental awareness and function of the brain and nervous system

Avoid the future rush

When the FMCSA waiver expires at the end of June, more drivers will be seeking DOT exams and medical certification so beat the lines. Once you have your employer authorization, come to any Concentra medical center for your DOT exam with a certified and registered medical examiner today.

 


1 “Trucking industry getting assistance from all corners amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” ABC News, March 28, 2020. https://abc17news.com/news/2020/03/28/trucking-industry-getting-assistance-from-all-corners-amidst-the-covid-19-pandemic/ 
2 “Annual Trucking Industry Revenue Soars to Nearly $800 Billion,” Trucks.com, July 31, 2019. https://www.trucks.com/2019/07/31/annual-trucking-industry-revenue-soars-800-billion/