DOT exams at MLHS

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles with a gross motor vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds must have a medical examination to show that they are in good health and unlikely to have problems operating or controlling their vehicle. They must also carry a medical examiner’s certificate with them at all times while operating the vehicle.

Rules for CDL drivers’ medical exams have changed. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and government federal regulations require certain qualifications for drivers of longer combination vehicles and/or those with commercial driver’s licenses to have a DOT medical examination for driver fitness determination.

The medical examination must be performed by a medical examiner listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. Mille Lacs Health System providers Dr. Cathy Donovan and Joan Shields, PA-C, are certified to perform the examinations.

Some changes to the rules include that medical providers who give the medical examinations take a certified course from the Federal Motor Vehicle association and then pass an exam to be registered on a certified provider registry.  The provider then has to submit information on every patient that they see for a DOT exam into a federal registry.

Also, the requirements for passing the medical examination if you have certain types of underlying medical issues are more stringent.

If you are in need of a DOT exam, please call MLHS at 320-532-3154 to set up an appointment. Your appointment will be longer than normal clinic appointments and you will also need to give plenty of notice to the clinic schedulers prior to your exam.

Underlying medical problems (including hypertension even if well controlled ) most likely will require yearly exams.
Smokers over 35 will need further workup (tests that may not be able to be done that day).
People with history of heart disease will need periodic stress tests in order to be qualified to drive.
If you have a history of congestive heart failure you will need stress tests and ECHO’s, Ejection fraction must be at or over 40% in order to be qualified.
If you have multiple risk factors for heart disease (diabetes, obesity, etc) you may also need  an exercise stress test.
If you’ve had a stoke or a moderate head injury you will be disqualified for a minimum of 1-5 years depending on the location of the brain injury.
Patients with peripheral neuropathy or MS will have to have a clearance by a neurologist or physiatrist available at medical exam.

In general the medical examiner needs your medical records from the period since your last exam.  This includes:

Hgba1c (for diabetics)
Echo and/or stress test results (for heart disease)
Documentation  of CPAP use for patients with sleep apnea
Blood pressure reading/ eye exams
INR records for patients on Coumadin.

The examiner cannot consider the patients current job description (ie having an “easy” job that still requires a DOT certification does not change the medical requirements).

This just addresses  the basics.  The requirements can change on a case by case basis, but overall it is going to be harder to become certified and most drivers will require more frequent exams.  In order to be less affected by these new requirements drivers should eat healthy, maintain a healthy weight,  get regular exercise and not smoke.