Whether you have been driving for decades or are coming in for your very first DOT Physical these 8 simple steps can help you get in, get out and get back on the road.
- Prior to scheduling an appointment make sure that the healthcare provider is listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. These providers are the only ones authorized to perform DOT Physicals. (You can look me up by searching zip code 89084 or by entering Jacob Fisk in the advanced search box. My NRCME # is 3663109167.)
- Get a good nights sleep prior to your physical and lay off the caffeine as it can artificially increase blood pressure in some people. According to the Mayo Clinic caffeine seems to have a stronger effect on older men and men who are overweight. Nicotine has been shown to cause a short term increase in blood pressure so if you use tobacco products or other forms or nicotine then right before your physical is not the best time for a cigarette.
- Bring your last medical certificate with you so that your records are consistent and the examiner has a baseline to start from. Don't forget your driver license as the examiners office will need to verify your identity and use your license number to fill out your certificate.
- Your vision will be tested so bring your glasses or contact lenses if you use them to drive. Your hearing will be tested during the exam so if you wear a hearing aid while driving then make sure you are wearing it for the exam.
- Drink water prior to your physical as we will need to collect a urine sample. Your urine will be tested to evaluate for blood, protein, specific gravity and glucose. This is not a drug test. Avoid eating a large meal prior to your appointment as it may cause glucose to spill over into the urine of non-diabetic patients. If glucose is detected in your urine the examiner must refer you for further testing to evaluate for diabetes.
- If you are currently treating for a health condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes or sleep apnea make sure to bring medical records demonstrating compliance with your treatment plan.
- Bring a list of your prescribed medications as well as the contact information for the doctor who prescribed them. There are times when we must contact the prescribing doctor to determine what condition is being treated by a specific medication. If we don't know who to contact then this can delay getting you back to work.
- Make sure you are taking any prescribed medications according to the schedule established by your doctor. The morning of your DOT physical is not a good time to "forget" to take your blood pressure meds.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article and I hope it will help you to prepare for your physical. My wish for each of you is to have a long and successful career as a commercial driver. Having said that, please keep in mind that there are times when a DOT Physical may need to serve as a wake up call regarding your general health. There are instances where I may have to issue a temporary certificate or even disqualify a driver for a period of time due to a variety of health conditions. Some things are easily correctable and can be taken care of quickly such as a new prescription for glasses. Other things are not so simple such as a suspicion of and subsequent diagnosis of diabetes. Some surgeries require significant waiting periods and by law I cannot issue a certificate until that time has passed. I recognize that your livelihood is at stake and I do not make these decisions lightly. My office will do whatever we can to communicate effectively with your treating doctors and get you back to work as soon as regulations allow. We appreciate your trust in coming to our office for your physical and look forward to seeing you soon.