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What You Can Expect From Your First DOT Physical

What You Can Expect From Your First DOT Physical

If you’re a new commercial driver who needs a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical, knowing what to expect at your first appointment helps you prepare and makes the entire appointment easier and faster. 

At Urgent Care of Ada, in Ada, Oklahoma, our medical providers offer specialized physical exams. These are exams for patients whose employers or occupation require them. We’ve curated this guide of helpful information, so you’re ready for your DOT physical!

Why do I need a DOT physical?

DOT physicals help ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road. Commercial vehicles require special care to operate. That’s why there are rules and regulations in place regarding your mental and physical abilities. 

Before your first DOT physical, it’s helpful to read these guidelines, so you can prepare and know what to expect at your exam. Your employer can provide this information. You can also access it at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website. 

What can I do to prepare for my first DOT physical?

It’s important to schedule a visit with your primary care doctor if you have a chronic condition, like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension. You may need time to adjust your diet, physical activity, and medications so that your condition is well-managed before your DOT physical. 

Keep in mind that if you have certain medical conditions, the DOT requires documentation that proves you’re under the care of a medical professional. Visiting your primary care provider means you’ll have the paperwork you need before your DOT physical. 

You can take other steps to boost your health before your DOT physical. They can help ensure you’ll meet the stringent requirements. Here’s a closer look at what to do when:

Before your physical:

The day of your appointment:

Bring with you:

Don’t forget you’ll need medical documentation for pre-existing conditions. Be sure to get it from your primary care provider before your DOT physical. 

Here is a list of conditions that mean you’ll need extra documentation:

Heart-related issues 

Bring a letter from your cardiologist. Make sure it summarizes your condition and any medications you take. Bring a copy of your most recent stress test if you've had a heart attack or heart surgery.

Diabetes and high blood pressure

For any type of diabetes and for high blood pressure, bring a list of all current medications, dosage information, and contact information for your primary care doctor.

Mental illness

The DOT takes mental health seriously. Please bring a list of any medications you take with you. Also bring a letter with your treating doctor’s medical opinion about your condition as it relates to your occupation.

Sleep apnea

If you have any type of sleep apnea, bring copies of the report from your most recent sleep study and a letter from your doctor citing your compliance with treatment. If you have a device to assist with breathing, bring the information about it along with your compliance letter. 


You also must provide a list of any other medications you take and have your medical history ready for review. 

What else should I know about DOT physicals?

The DOT physical is a mandatory exam that only a specially licensed medical examiner can conduct. At Urgent Care of Ada, our providers are licensed to conduct DOT physicals, and we have the experience needed to answer any of your questions. 

Keep in mind that after your first DOT physical, you need to continue to meet the health standards set by the FMCSA. This includes having additional DOT physicals every 24 months. 

If you need a DOT physical or want to learn more about what to expect, schedule an appointment over the phone or online at Urgent Care of Ada. 

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