Driving commercial vehicles, especially trucks and trailers, involves a lot of stress and tiredness from the long hours of working. This being the case, there is a need for such drivers to be in the best physical fitness possible. This is the reason the department of transportation, DOT, requires that you undergo a few tests for you to be termed fit to operate commercial vehicles. They are aimed at ensuring that you are in the right physical condition so that you and other road users are safe. This article looks at the different tests done in a DOT physical.
- Vision Test
The eyes direct and determine your trajectory on the road, hence the need for them to be in good condition. The two eyes are tested for optimal fitness. The DOT requires that each of your eyes should have acuity of 20/40 and a 70” peripheral in the horizontal meridian. To determine these, you may be asked to identify letters or numbers written on a signboard. To make work easier and have the possibility of passing this test, be sure to carry your glasses.
- Hearing Test
Since you are supposed to be alert and listen to what is going on the road at all times, there is a need to ascertain that your ears can perform this task. During the test, the physician may ask you to identify some spoken phrases or numbers from a distance of approximately 5ft from him. For you to pass this test, you are required to identify details of a forced whisper from a distance, without the aid of a hearing device. The ear being tested should be facing the examiner, while the other ear should be covered. To make work easier during this test, carry your hearing aid devices or medication.
If they went unnoticed, conditions like diabetes could become very detrimental for drivers on the road. This is because diabetes can cause blurred vision and migraines, both of which place you at the risk of accidents. That is why the DOT requires all commercial vehicle drivers to take this test. During the test, you are asked to submit samples of your urine in a bottle and the physician tests it for sugar levels. Most drivers panic when testing for urine since this might tell if they have previously been drinking or taking drugs. The test is not meant for drugs and alcohol, although some employers may demand the test reveal drugs and alcohol use. To speed up the process, carry your blood sugar log and test documents.
- Blood Pressure/Pulse Rate
The DOT makes this test mandatory to measure your blood pressure and check for irregular heartbeats. This is because an underlying cause of high blood pressure or irregular heartbeats can place you at the risk of a heart attack or breathing difficulty while on the road. This is very grievous because you can cause an accident and hurt yourself and other road users.
- Physical Examination
This test aims at determining the general physical health of your body. An appointed physician licensed by the DOT performs it. During the test, the physician may check your general appearance. This may include the ears for deformities, the eyes for glaucoma, the spine for injuries, the abdomen among many others. This test is aimed at telling if you have any underlying physical issue that would interfere with your wellbeing. To make the test faster and easier, you should carry your medical history with you.
- Hernia Test
This is the most uncomfortable test since it feels and looks weird. It involves the physician placing their hand on your pelvic area while you are asked to turn your head and cough. The test is aimed at determining if you have abdomen, viscera and genitourinary systems issues. This is because if any of these issues cause discomfort in the hernia, this may place your life and that of other people at the risk of accident. Since no one likes this awkward moment, you can make the procedure faster and simpler by producing your medical history or recent test documents.
Most drivers make a mistake of taking these tests for granted until pushed by the DOT. What they do not know is that the tests are aimed at protecting them and the public from accidents. Knowing this, you should from now on take it upon yourself to make the process smooth and faster as much as possible. In case you fail the tests, do not panic as you can appeal to be placed under a reduced clearance period.