Being a driver for the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) can be a great advantage in the working world. It will provide you with a substantial income and superb medical insurance. But it also requires long hours and sometimes many days on the road alone. That is why the DOT has strict parameters for passing its physical exam. You must pass this exam in order to qualify to be an employee of the DOT.[/box]
On the road
To pass the physical, applicants must not have lost any limbs and must not have mobility issues that would hinder tasks such as grasping steering wheels or gear shifts. You must also be able to apply correct pressure to the brake pedal, accelerator and clutch. Any injuries to hands, fingers, feet or toes must not interfere with these required tasks, if they do, you will automatically fail the physical exam. Rheumatoid arthritis also will disqualify you.
Diabetes and Epilepsy
Potential drivers with illnesses such as diabetes (Type I or II) or epilepsy cannot apply to be drivers for the DOT. With these illnesses, you run the risk of blacking out, becoming a threat to yourself and others, with the potential for seizures, sugar shock and coma.
Cardiovascular and Respiratory Illnesses
Driver applicants who have been diagnosed with any form of heart disease or who have had a stroke or heart attack cannot apply. If you have a history of any respiratory illnesses such as emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or chronic asthma, you will also not be allowed to apply. Having these illnesses puts you at risk of having a heart attack, stroke or losing consciousness while driving. High blood pressure, even if you’re taking medication, can lead to disqualification.
If you have any mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, clinical depression or schizophrenia, you will not be allowed to apply. The DOT considers these illnesses to impair judgment.
Vision, Hearing and Substance Abuse
Your vision must be, at the time of your eye exam, no less than 20/40. Any hearing loss must be no greater than 40 decibels, meaning you must be able to hear someone whisper from roughly five feet away.
Substance abuse also will disqualify you. They will check your medical records for any reported problems with either alcohol or drugs. They will also check your driving record for any driving-while-intoxicated offenses. They will also conduct a drug test that will include both blood and urine, and you must pass.