What Does the DOT Physical Exam Consist Of? A Guide

America loves its open roads. More than 228.6 million Americans are registered drivers.

But that doesn’t mean that everyone is free to hit the road. Professional drivers must pass a DOT physical exam, and it’s more than a routine checkup.

What are the areas of health that a DOT exam looks into? What qualifications do you have to meet in order to pass one? What is a DOT drug test like?

Answer these questions and you can pass a physical exam with flying colors. Here is your quick guide.


Your DOT exam will focus on your vision. You must have at least 20/40 vision in each eye with a field of vision of at least 70 degrees. You may wear corrective lenses, but you must keep them on while driving.

You also must distinguish between different colors. Traffic signs are color-coded for different meanings, and you must tell the colors apart so you know what they mean.


A DOT medical exam emphasizes hearing less than vision, but it is still important. You need to be able to hear sirens and engine noises while you are on the road.

You must be able to hear a whisper that someone says less than five feet from you. You will wear headphones and listen to sounds to assess your hearing. You are not required to understand English words or to differentiate between different noises.


Your blood pressure and pulse rate affect your driving. If your rates are too weak, you may faint and cause a traffic accident.

Your DOT test will include a blood test. This will assess if you have diabetes or any blood disorders. You may be able to drive a car, but you may need accommodations to do so.

Drug Testing 

The presence of any drugs in your system can lead to rejection. Drug tests are extensive, screening for a range of substances from cocaine to PCP.

It is okay to take certain prescription drugs, especially for chronic conditions. But you should make sure they do not register a false positive on your drug test. You should also make sure they will not make you drowsy or inattentive while driving.

Other Aspects of Health

There is no such thing as an easy DOT exam. An exam will look into all aspects of your health. It will assess your brain, respiratory system, and skeleton.

A neurological or major skeletal problem will lead to rejection. But a doctor may give you a pass depending on who you find. Google “dot test near me” to find more information.

The Essentials of a DOT Physical Exam 

A DOT physical exam is an intricate exam. You must have good vision, though you can wear corrective lenses. You must have decent hearing so you can hear sirens.

You must provide some blood. It is okay if you have a blood disease, but you should be able to drive for long periods of time.

You will be tested for all illicit substances. If you test positive, you will get rejected. Your doctor will examine your other components of health, especially your mobility.

Once you pass, you can drive for a living. Get driving guides by following our coverage.