What You Need to Do if You Fail Your DOT Physical

DOT physicals are a common aspect of the trucking industry. Before initial operation, and every two years thereafter, drivers are required to have a DOT-certified physician perform a physical examination to ensure that they are fit to operate under DOT and FMCSA regulations. But what happens if you fail this exam, and a doctor finds what they believe is an issue and deems you unfit to operate a CMV? This can compromise your future driving career and can understandably be stressful news.

During a DOT physical, your livelihood is essentially in the hands of a medical examiner who will go over a prescribed list of questions, tests and exams to verify that you are fit to drive. Some of this is black and white, but some of it is objective and can be interpreted differently from one examining doctor to the next. Because of this, the outcome of a DOT physical may vary depending on the examiner administering the test. The FMCSA understands this, and provides the opportunity for the driver to get a second opinion.

What the Regulation Says

In the written law, there is nothing that covers the rights of a driver who finds themselves getting denied for their medical card renewal. But the FMCSA has provided some clarification on this issue. According to them, drivers can get a second opinion if they fail their initial DOT physical exam.

When getting a second opinion, you are legally obligated to disclose your full and honest medical history to the new examiner. You are not able to leave out information because it caused you to fail the first time around.

If you are denied a second time, that’s the end of the road. You can not keep going for exams from different doctors in an effort to find an examiner who will pass you. Medical examiners are required to report the results of each DOT physical they administer to the FMCSA, so the agency will be able to see how many doctors you have visited, and the information you provided.

However, as long as the information from doctor to doctor doesn’t vary, and you didn’t get more than two physicals administered, a medical card that is issued by a second examiner will be considered valid.

If you have any questions, or need assistance with finding a DOT physician, give us a call at 877-405-5003.