The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires all industry workers such as limousine drivers, bus drivers, truck drivers, public transportation, train drivers, and flight crew to comply with certain medical and physical standards. Exams are required if you wish to qualify for a commercial driving license and if you wish to keep it. If you have never experienced DOT testing before, you may feel a little nervous at not knowing what to expect.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to ready you for your upcoming DOT physical testing:
Drug Testing is Included
Unlike a traditional physical with a doctor, the DOT requires drug testing to be involved with your physical and medical checkup. It is important to know going into your exam that the drug testing involved is very sensitive and advanced and it will show positive results for even small traces of drugs in your system. This means that if you smoked marijuana thirty days before your DOT test, you may see positive results. In addition to marijuana, the drug test will check for amphetamines, opiates which includes heroin, cocaine, and phencyclidine. The DOT takes this testing very seriously and your ability to obtain a commercial driving license will depend on even the smallest traces of drugs in your system.
Your Urine Samples Reveal More than Just Drugs
The testing will require they take a urine sample from you, but it will cover more than just drugs. It also looks for signs of protein and sugar in your system which is an indication of early onset diabetes. It can also reveal any underlying health issues you may not have known about, like problems with the kidneys. Depending on the employer, these health concerns may flag you as a high risk employee.
Having Drug Traces in Your System Isn’t the Only Disqualifier
Certain health conditions may also cause you to fail the DOT physical exam, such as uncontrolled diabetes, poor vision, epilepsy, heart disease, mental disorders, and loss or impairment of limbs. All of these health issues can potentially hinder your ability to provide a safe service to clients and protect the safety of the general public. Of course, failing the drug test due to traces of drugs and alcohol in your system will disqualify you to obtain a commercial license as well. This strict testing is meant to protect the lives of those you may be driving as well as other drivers on the road with you.
Keeping Blood Pressure Controlled is a Requirement to Pass
It doesn’t automatically disqualify you by the DOT if you have high blood pressure but it is a requirement to keep it under control. If you have less than 140 systolic and 90 diastolic, you can receive a commercial license card that is valid for two years. If you have a systolic measurement that is not greater than 159 or a diastolic that is not greater than 99, you qualify for a one-year card. Measurements that reach over 160 for systolic and 100 for diastolic will receive a three month card and will require you to see the doctor again for another checkup. If the measurements have decreased after receiving antihypertensive treatment, a one-year card is given.
If You Pass the Testing with Flying Colors, a Two-Year Card is given
If you don’t suffer from any of the ailments listed above and you are not found with any drugs or alcohol in your system, a two-year card is the most standard. Once the two years has expired, you will need to perform another simple assessment to be cleared for another card. If you develop any medical conditions during this time, a one-year card may be given or a temporary three-month card to give you enough time to speak with your doctor and see what treatments may help you.
Hopefully this article has given you the preparation you need before going in to your DOT physical exam. For more information regarding DOT drug and alcohol testing, contact New Era Drug Testing.