Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Driver’s Physical Exam—What, When, Where?

It’s been over a century since the first cars hit the streets across the Europe and the United States, and technology has undeniably come a long way from those first automobiles.  Now cars, trucks and buses are an integral part of our transportation system and economy, delivering people and goods across continents with greater comfort and speed than ever before. Still, with such great volume comes danger; in 2010, 32,885 people died in traffic crashes in the United States. It is obvious then, that the Department of Transportation would want to prevent as many accidents as possible, and one of the best ways to do it is to make sure that drivers, particularly of large vehicles, are in tip-top shape before hitting the road.  Enter the DOT physical exam, a prerequisite for certification of commercial drivers. Here’s what’s required:

A Department of Transportation (DOT) physical examination is required to obtain certain types of commercial driver’s licenses.  People who operate a commercial vehicle with a combination weight rating over 10,000 pounds, drivers operating a vehicle transporting sixteen or more passengers, and drivers operating vehicles for the transportation of hazardous materials all need to have a physical as a component of their DOT certification.

The Department of Transportation uses standardized forms to be filled out by a physician as proof of a physical exam, so it’s important that you print out the paperwork and bring it with you to your exam appointment. Additionally, the DOT form has a medical history section to be filled out by the patient prior to examination.  The medical history questionnaire addresses health issues like past injuries and diseases, psychological disorders, hearing or vision problems, and other undiagnosed symptoms like dizziness or lower back pain, that could affect your ability to operate a vehicle safely. Be prepared to discuss the information with your walk in clinic doctor NYC during the exam.

After you discuss your medical history with the doctor, he or she will perform vision and hearing tests. If you wear glasses or hearing aids you should use them during the tests. You must still be able to fulfill the requirements of the examination with your aids, though, so don’t forget to bring your glasses to your appointment! For the vision exam, a driver must have vision in both eyes, must be able to read traffic signs, and must not be colorblind.  For the hearing test, a driver must be able to hear a forced whisper at a distance of five feet or greater. If you pass the vision and hearing tests, the doctor will continue the examination with a routine physical, listening to the heart and lungs, and checking your blood pressure.  The results of your blood pressure test can directly affect the length of your certification, as blood pressure is an important indicator of heart and vascular health.  Patients with a blood pressure level over 140 mmHg can only be certified for one year; those with a pressure level greater than 160 can only be issued a three or six-month certification.  A urine test to check for illicit substances and kidney health is also a routine part of the DOT physical examination.

Assuming everything goes well, a DOT physical examination certification lasts for two years before it must be renewed. But the doctor can also issue a shorter certification with reservations.  The doctor can determine how long the certification is good for (usually three months, six months, or a year) before the driver must return to be evaluated due to a medical condition that must be monitored; the doctor must specify the specific condition on the certification form.

If you’re in New York City and need to DOT physical exam NYC, you can get same-day certification at the Physical Exam Center of New York.  At Physical Exam Center NYC, you can get your driver’s physical exam at an appointment time convenient for you, right in midtown Manhattan, with affordable rates, even if you don’t have insurance. Get cleared for safety, log onto Urgent Care NYC and get in the driver’s seat by calling (212) 686-5900 today! 

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