Why a DOT Card? – Heavy vehicles are an added danger for commuters and other drivers on the road, so there are further education and medical requirements and some considerations to keep in mind that is required before operating a commercial motor vehicle.
First, a DOT Card ensures that heavy vehicle operators follow safety regulations set by law that protect both their passengers and others on the roads around them.
Heavy vehicles take longer to stop, an uneducated or issues with pedestrians getting run over or being put into dangerous situations when they get stuck behind one of these trucks while trying to cross an intersection because it blocks traffic flow at times and causes delays.
Commercial motor vehicle operators who have not complied with the Department Of Transportations rules and regulations and driving without the DOT Health Card face having fines imposed against them from $2,750-$25,000 plus 12 months imprisonment if convicted under 49 U.S Code § 31310(B).
You may have wondered what a DOT card for commercial vehicle operation is. Well, it’s not just any old piece of identification; the Department of Transportation has made sure that commercial operators are held to a higher standard than the average license holder due in part to the added weight, size, limitation of, passenger capacity, and dangers associated with operating a commercial motor vehicle bring a much higher level of responsibility to the operator.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) issues these cards to ensure safety on public roads by making sure you are healthy and able to drive and take on this added responsibility associated with the added risks of commercial vehicle operation.
Drivers who operate in non-exempt commerce are required by law to submit their CDL Health Card. This document proves a CDL driver is healthy enough to operate a commercial vehicle safely. Drivers are checked for the following during a DOT physical.
A DOT physical results in a report that is filled out by the attending physician. If the driver passes the examination, they are issued their DOT HEALTH CARD. It is imperative that you always carry your DOT Card on you while operating a motor vehicle, as you may be asked to present it in the event of a DOT inspection or if you get pulled over.
Some drivers may be monitored for certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure. The medical examiner may require a driver to undergo further testing, start taking medications and follow up, to ensure their condition is improving.
It is important to note that not all states require a DOT EXAM. If a driver drives from state to state, they will likely need a card, to ensure they meet all the laws of each state they enter.
As stated above, not all states require a DOT Medical Exam, and some drivers may be exempt. It is important professional drivers know if they need to obtain a health card, so they can ensure they are meeting the stipulations of the law. The following offers information on who needs a DOT Card.
Drivers who do Interstate work will need a DOT medical card if the following applies to them.
It is important to note that employers can also require their drivers to have a DOT HEALTH CARD. Some transportation companies require this documentation before they will allow employees to begin driving.
Medical DOT Waivers
If a driver is medically unqualified under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, they may be able to obtain a waiver to drive a commercial vehicle, depending on the state and the reasons for disqualification.
To obtain a medical waiver, a driver will be required to go through the full application process. This process is outlined in Subpart B of part 381 under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Guidelines.
The driver will need to send a written request to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator. A review will be conducted and the driver will either receive a declination or approval letter.
If the waiver is granted, the driver is required by law to carry it in the vehicle at all times. It is also important drivers educate themselves on any laws in states they may pass through. Ignorance of the law is not an acceptable reason for drivers not carrying a DOT card when required.
The first step in the process of obtaining a DOT medical card is to schedule a DOT exam with a licensed and certified medical provider. Years ago, any physician could conduct these examinations. In 2014, the laws changed. Now, all physicians performing DOT exams must be certified and registered by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Before scheduling a DOT physical, drivers need to ensure their physician is properly registered and certified. Without this certification and registration, physicians cannot legally perform these required exams.
The DOT physical is a thorough health examination. Drivers must pass this health examination, or they could be forced to give up their CDL licenses.
The physician or medical examiner will check the driver thoroughly. They will perform testing to check for conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.
The examiner will perform urine tests and possibly blood tests. They will also carefully examine the driver’s medical history, to determine if they will pass the exam. DOT exams are extensive and require a report to be filled out by the medical examiner.
Once the examination has been completed, the medical examiner will be required to submit a report to the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners. If drivers pass the exam, they will receive a copy of their Medical Examiner’s Certificate, which meets all the requirements of the DOT medical card regulations.
Follow-ups Every One to Two Years
Most CDL drivers are required to have a follow-up exam every two years, though some will need to be re-examined after one year, to renew their DOT cards. It is important to comply with the stipulations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, to ensure commercial drivers can safely operate their vehicles.
The DOT exam is a fairly straightforward examination, but there are some steps drivers can take to be better prepared. The following steps should help drivers to prepare for their DOT physical, so they are more likely to pass.
CDL truck drivers take a big risk when driving under a non-certified status. The penalties for not having a DOT card are serious.
If drivers go through a weigh station or are pulled over by an officer, and fail to produce their DOT health card, they will be issued an out-of-service citation. With this situation can come hefty fees and sanctions.
It is clear to see that avoiding following the rules and obtaining a DOT health card can be disastrous for professional drivers. To continue their careers, drivers must stay abreast of changing laws and ensure they are meeting the demands of each of the laws put forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Seeking a DOT physical may seem like a daunting task, but it is really not difficult. It is important CDL drivers know the laws for their state and each of the states they travel through on the job. By following the above steps and heeding the information provided, professional drivers can obtain their DOT medical cards with ease. Be sure to check out NE DOT Physicals for your DOT Card in MA, we have a fast, efficient and affordable process to get you back on the road safely, and ASAP.