Why Do Commercial Drivers Need Physical Exams?


by Dr. Gurj Kalay

Why Truck Drivers Need a Physical Exam

If you’re a commercial driver, you might be wondering why you have to get a physical before you can hit the road. After all, driving is mostly a skill that comes from having a sharp mind and a lot of practice, right? Even though this is true, you shouldn’t forget about the physical part of the job. In this post, we’ll talk about why commercial drivers need physical exams and what they can expect during the process.

Ensuring Road Safety for Yourself & Others

One of the main reasons commercial drivers have to get a physical is to make sure they are safe on the road. Commercial drivers are in charge of driving big, heavy vehicles that can be dangerous to other drivers and pedestrians if they are not driven correctly. The driver’s physical health is a key part of how safely they can drive these vehicles.

By making sure drivers are in good shape, accidents caused by tiredness, bad judgment, or medical emergencies are much less likely to happen. This helps protect not just the driver but everyone else on the road as well.

Comply with California DOT Law

In the United States, the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires commercial drivers to get or keep a valid commercial driver’s license by passing a physical exam (CDL). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), which include this rule, are meant to improve road safety by making sure that commercial drivers are physically fit to drive their vehicles. This is also true for the California DOT.

A certified medical examiner, like Dr. Gurj Kalay of Yuba Sutter Chiropractic, must provide the DOT physical exam. If a driver doesn’t pass the test, they could lose their CDL or be limited in the kinds of vehicles they can drive.

Avoid Health Problems

Another benefit of requiring commercial drivers to get a DOT physical exam is that possible health problems can be found early on. Many health problems can start without obvious signs, but a thorough physical exam can help find these problems before they get worse.

By finding health problems early, drivers can get the right care and make changes to their lives to keep them from getting worse. This is good for the driver’s health in general and helps them keep their ability to work and make a living.

How to Prepare for a DOT Physical Exam

Now that we’ve talked about why a physical exam is needed for truck drivers in California, let’s talk about what drivers can expect during the process.

A Review of Your Medical History

In the first part of the exam, the driver’s medical history is looked at. This includes any allergies, medical conditions, medications, or surgeries you’ve had in the past or are getting now. It’s important to be honest and thorough when giving this information because it helps the examiner figure out if you have any health problems that might affect your ability to drive a commercial vehicle safely.

A Physical Examination

Next, the examiner will do a thorough check of the person’s body. Most of the time, this means checking your

  • Hearing and seeing
  • Pulse rate and blood pressure
  • The respiratory and heart-lung systems
  • Musculoskeletal system (including strength, flexibility, and range of motion)
  • Neurological function

The examiner will also look for signs of drug use or other health problems that might make it hard for you to drive safely.


Most of the time, a urinalysis is part of the DOT physical exam. This test looks for sugar, protein, and blood in the urine, all of which can be signs of serious health problems like diabetes or kidney disease. The urinalysis can also be used to check for drug use, though this is usually done with a separate drug test.


If the examiner decides that you are physically fit to drive for a business, they will give you a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC), which is also called a DOT medical card. This certification is good for up to 24 months, but drivers with certain health problems may need to go through exams more often.

Getting a DOT Physical at Yuba Sutter Chiropractic

At Yuba Sutter Chiropractic, we understand how important it is for commercial drivers to have a valid MEC, and we want to ensure that all drivers remain safe and healthy on the job. Dr. Kalay will make sure that your health is in good condition and that you are fit to drive commercially in California. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.


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