Why am I required to have a Department of Transportation (DOT) Physical Exam?

The mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses. You are responsible for your own safety, as well as the safety of all the people who share the road with you. The DOT physical examination can only be performed by a certified Medical Examiner. The physical exam will confirm you are medically qualified to safely perform the demanding job of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver. In the interest of public safety, CMV drivers are held to higher physical, mental and emotional standards than passenger car drivers.

What is the most common factor that may disqualify a driver during a physical examination?

Many people unknowingly are living with elevated blood pressure, also known as hypertension. High blood pressure can quietly damage your body for years before symptoms develop. It makes the heart work harder to pump out blood to the body. This contributes to hardening of the arteries, which may lead to a stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, and heart failure. Treatment and lifestyle changes can help control high blood pressure to reduce risk of life-threatening complications. The driver should have ongoing blood pressure management and be free of side effects that may impair safe driving.

How can you lower your blood pressure?

There are many lifestyle and diet modifications to lower your blood pressure. Only you have the power to control your health and well being. Just because you have hypertension doesn’t mean you have to take a medication and live with the condition for the rest of your life. Research studies have shown that environmental factors highly contribute to hypertension.