DOT Physicals

What Do You Need for a California DOT Exam?


by Dr. Gurj Kalay

The department of transportation (DOT) in California requires an exam for truck drivers that contains both a written and skills test. However, before you can take the exam, you’ll need a medical exam from a licensed physician or chiropractor.

If you’re applying for your CDL in Yuba City, below are a few things to keep in mind.

California DOT Exam Requirements

To take the California DOT exam, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have a valid CDL or be in the process of obtaining one
  • Provide your own vehicle that meets all California DOT requirements; this includes having working brakes, headlights, and turn signals, as well as being registered and insured
  • Present a current medical certificate
  • Have a clean driving record

Getting a Physical Exam & Medical Certificate

This certificate can be obtained from any licensed physician or chiropractor, and it must state that you are physically fit to operate a commercial vehicle. The certificate is valid for up to two years. If you are applying for a CDL for the first time or need to renew your medical certificate, make an appointment with us here.

What’s Included During a DOT Physical

During the exam, the physician or chiropractor will check you for the following:

  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rate and rhythm
  • Lung function
  • Urine analysis
  • Vision test (including color vision)
  • Hearing test

The doctor will also ask about your medical history and perform a physical examination. After the exam, you will be given a DOT medical certificate if you are cleared to operate a commercial vehicle.

DOT Medical Forms

To make the process go more smoothly, we recommend that you bring the following forms with you to your appointment:

  • DOT Medical Examination Report (MCSA-5875)
  • Medical Examiner’s Certificate (ME Certificate) (form MCSA-5876)

You can find these forms on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website.

What If You Have a Health Condition?

If you have a health condition that could potentially affect your ability to drive a commercial vehicle, you will need to provide additional information to the DMV. This could include a note from your doctor or treatments you are receiving.

The most common conditions that require additional information are:

  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart conditions

The DMV’s Exam

The California DOT exam consists of both a written and a skills test.

The written test is taken first and covers topics such as traffic laws, road signage, and safety procedures. It must be passed with a score of 80% or higher. If you fail the written test, you can retake it after seven days.

The skills test is taken after the written test and assesses your ability to operate a commercial vehicle safely. It includes a pre-trip inspection, during which you’ll need to identify various parts of the truck and explain how they work. You’ll also be tested on your maneuvering skills, including backing up and parallel parking. The skills test must be passed with a score of 80% or higher. If you fail, you can retake it after 14 days.

Ongoing Care from Your Chiropractor

As any commercial trucker knows, driving a truck can be stressful on your body and especially your back. It’s recommended to see a chiropractor for ongoing treatment to keep you feeling your best while you’re on the road. And if you’ve been involved in an accident, be sure to schedule an appointment before you sustain a long-term injury.

We’re here to help with DOT physicals and support you with long-term care. Call us today to schedule an appointment online anytime.


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