It is a legal requirement in the US that if you are an interstate commerce driver and your vehicle’s weight exceeds 10,000 pounds; you must have a valid Commercial Driver’s License Medical Exam Certificate.

You can obtain these certificates by completing a Department of Transportation (DOT) exam, which can be done by a doctor, osteopath, chiropractor, advanced practice nurse, or physician’s assistant. Upon completing the medical exam, the certificate you receive can last between 3 months and two years, depending on your health.

cdl exam
CDL Exam-DOT Exam

How The Process Works

The physician will ask you questions about your medical history. This process will include answering questions about any medicines you take, any surgeries you’ve had, and any other health problems you have encountered. They will also ask if you use tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs, whether you’ve ever failed a drug test, and whether you currently have any symptoms.

They will then also do a physical exam, including noting down your height, weight, blood pressure, hearing or vision impairments, and check your skin, eyes, ears, mouth, throat, heart, lungs, back, reflexes, and joints. You will also have to have a urinalysis done in order to check for protein, blood, and sugar levels.

Your urgent care doctor may issue further tests if necessary. You might also have to have a sleep apnea test if you show signs of obstructive sleep apnea (snoring, dehydrated mouth in the morning, morning headaches, daytime sleepiness).

Certificate is Subject to Your Medical Conditions

If you have any issues like high blood pressure, a history of heart attacks, seizures, or strokes, or even if you have insulin-dependent diabetes, this could impact the length of the medical certificate the physician is happy to supply you with.

Certain conditions like Meniere’s disease could disqualify you from receiving a certificate, but they often leave this to the medical examiner’s judgment. You may be able to file for a waiver or exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for some conditions, or you might be disqualified and told to bring a specific medical condition (diabetes, high blood pressure) under control in order to get a certificate.

When going for your DOT exam, make sure you have:

  • Photographic ID
  • Your DOT or CDL permit number
  • A list of medications
  • Your glasses, contacts, and/or hearing aids
  • Any recent medical test results (blood sugar, blood pressure, etc.)
  • If necessary, a letter from your cardiologist indicating you’re safe to drive
  • If necessary, a CPAP compliance report
  • If necessary, a safety letter for any sedatives you take
  • If necessary, a diabetes letter from your doctor
  • A purchase order for your exam if your place of work is paying

If you’re based in Oregon, you can obtain your medical certificate at Bend’s Mountain Medical Urgent Care clinic. Their expert medical staff have provided DOT exams for major distribution companies such as FedEx, UPS, and XPO Logistics, and they offer a walk-in service which is on from 7 am to 7 pm every day.

Please consider that commercial insurance usually will not cover the cost of this medical exam.