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Commercial motor vehicle physical exam

To be able to drive some large commercial motor vehicles, you must first pass a physical exam.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) requires truck, van, bus or other commercial vehicle drivers to have a physical exam every two years. The exam will determine if you are safe to drive.

Your physical needs to be completed by a DOT licensed provider:

  • doctor of medicine (MD)  
  • doctor of osteopathy (DO)
  • physician assistant (PA)
  • advanced practice nurse (APN)
  • doctor of chiropractic (DC)

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Why you need a DOT physical exam

The medical examiner will do a thorough review of your medical history and medications, as well as perform a physical examination to determine your fitness to operate a commercial motor vehicle valid at the DMV.

What to expect from your DOT physical exam

Your visit will include a physical exam and a neurological exam.

Your examiner may asked you to bring all your medications to the appointment and also request information about your health from your primary doctor.

If you use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, you will need to bring the print out.

More about the DOT physical exam

A Medical Examiner's Certificate is issued if you do not have a medical condition, use medication or receive treatment that impairs safe driving. The Medical Examiner's Certificate:

  • is valid for up to 24 months
  • may be issued for less than 24 months to monitor a health condition.

Related links

Source: Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration
Reviewed by: Philip Hoversten, medical director, Occupational Health

First published: 1/23/2017
Last reviewed: 8/19/2021