If you need a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC), also known as a DOT Medical or Health Card, you can get your DOT Physical Exam at North Texas Clinic and Rehab.

All Texas CDL and class A, B, and C drivers must have a current DOT Medical Card. Most people need to renew it every two years, but some health conditions may require physicals annually or even every three months.

So, if yours is close to expiring or you need to get one for the first time, schedule a Dept. of Transportation physical with our Certified Medical Examiners at our Hurst and Grand Prairie locations.

What is a DOT Physical?

Healthcare provider performing a physical
Healthcare provider performing a physical

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers to carry a Medical Card proving they are physically and mentally fit. You receive your medical card by passing the Department of Transportation (DOT) physical.

During your physical, a certified medical examiner will check your vitals, discuss your medical history and medications, and perform a thorough evaluation. Your exam includes:

  • General appearance
  • Eyes and ears
  • Mouth and throat
  • Heart and lungs
  • Stomach
  • Back and spine
  • Arms, legs, and joints
  • Nervous system and
  • reflexes
  • Balance and walking gait
  • Drug screening (if required)

You will also have urinalysis testing to check for protein, blood, sugar, and specific gravity. Based on those results and other health concerns, you may need other tests, such as HgA1c testing for diabetes.

Once your DOT physical is complete, your medical examiner will give you your results and, if you passed,
your Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC).

Who Needs to Have a DOT Medical Card?

Truck drivers need to have a DOT physical

All commercial drivers (truckers, bus drivers, and construction vehicle operators) regulated by the Department of Transportation must have an appropriate, valid license and a DOT Medical Card. This includes people who drive a vehicle that:

  • Has a gross combination weight rating, gross vehicle weight rating, or gross combination weight of over 10,000 pounds on the interstate
  • Transports hazardous materials that require a placard on the vehicle
  • Is designed to carry more than 15 passengers
  • Is paid to carry more than 8 passengers
Truck drivers need to have a DOT physical

Why Do Commercial Drivers Need a Physical?

All drivers should maintain a certain level of health, responsibility, and knowledge to operate a vehicle safely. However, commercial drivers need to hold an even higher standard. They either drive much bigger, more dangerous vehicles or are responsible for carrying other people.

Operating large vehicles and driving for long periods can be strenuous on both the body and mind. It requires good eyesight and hearing, staying awake and concentrating for hours at a time, and good overall health.

How Much Does a DOT Physical Cost in Texas?

The average price for a Dept. of Transportation physical in Texas ranges from $85 to $200.

At North Texas Clinic and Rehab, our DOT physical costs $75.

However, you may need other tests due to specific health conditions or employer requirements. These may come with additional costs, which we will discuss with you during your exam.

What Should I Bring To My DOT Physical?

paperwork and glasses

To save time, you may complete and bring your necessary medical forms to your appointment. You can download them from the FMCSA here.

However, you can complete the paperwork during your appointment if you cannot print them beforehand.

On the day of your exam, you should bring a list of all your medications, including their dosages and frequency. Having a list of your healthcare providers and their contact information is also helpful.

Bring your glasses, contacts, and hearing aids if you use them.

Some people should also bring medical records and letters from doctors if they have current or prior health issues that require consistent monitoring or clearance to operate a CMV.

The more information you can provide, the smoother your Dept. of Transportation physical will go.

How Do I Prepare For My Physical?

The best preparation for any physical is to maintain your health by exercising, eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, getting yearly check-ups to prevent and address health concerns, and taking care of your mental wellness.

Before your exam, you’ll want to make sure you don’t do anything that could skew the results of your blood pressure, pulse, glucose level, and other health metrics. Be sure to:

  • Take all prescribed medications at the correct time
  • Avoid smoking and heavy drinking the day before your exam
  • Consider skipping caffeinated drinks on the day of your physical
  • Eat nutritious foods with healthy portion sizes
  • Don’t consume too much sugar or salt
  • Ensure your eye prescription is up-to-date if you have one
  • Get a good night’s sleep

The goal is to have an accurate assessment of your overall health. So, you should avoid substances and habits that can negatively affect your vital signs, even temporarily.

What Happens If I Fail My DOT Physical?

People who have regular screenings and are in good health are unlikely to fail their DOT physical. However, your medical examiner may uncover a previously unknown health condition, or you may have inaccurate or atypical results that lead to failure.

Fortunately, even if you have chronic health issues, such as diabetes or heart problems, you can still pass with a well-managed condition.

If you fail your exam, your medical examiner should explain why you didn’t pass. Be sure to ask for the results if they don’t provide them.

Safe driving is crucial

There may be a fixable problem, such as getting new glasses. Or you might need medication to address issues you should correct anyway.

After failing an exam, there are several steps you can take. First, make sure you understand why you failed. Second, if you failed due to something you corrected, you can get a second opinion with a different provider.

It is important to note that lying or failing to disclose necessary health information is grounds for immediate and permanent disqualification. Since all physicals are reported to the FMCSA, your information should be accurate and consistent between physicals. Another automatic disqualifier is “doctor shopping” or visiting multiple providers until you find one who will pass you.

If you are honest about your previous exam and health history, and the second provider passes you, you will receive your DOT Medical Card without issue.

Another potential option is to apply for an exemption. You can read more about the regulations and required forms for exemptions here.

Most importantly, don’t stress. As long as you are in relatively good health, you’ll likely pass. Even if you don’t, there are options. Your safety and the safety of others are essential, and the DOT physical is necessary to keep you safe behind the wheel.

low cost, personalized medical care
low-cost, personalized medical care