The 2023 DOT Physical Updates: What Commercial Drivers Must Know

Imagine driving across the country in your big beautiful truck, only to find out that you’re unable to renew your commercial driver’s license due to a failed DOT physical. It’s a nightmare scenario that could become a reality for commercial drivers who aren’t up-to-date on the 2023 DOT physical updates. But don’t worry. Medphsyicals Plus has you covered.

While drug testing has traditionally been the responsibility of employers and not a standard part of the DOT physical, new FMCSA regulations for this year specify that drivers can face disqualification if they test positive for any Schedule 1 controlled substance, including marijuana – even if the driver has a prescription for its use. Even if the driver has a prescription for certain drugs, they can still be disqualified, including marijuana (Veltri). The DOT physical also has certain vision, hearing, and even blood pressure regulations and updates. A full update of all amendments can be read here.

DOT Clearinghouse Changing Safety Performance History Checks

On January 6, 2023, DOT-regulated companies will no longer need to manually reach out to their potential new drivers’ previous employers to find out their drug and alcohol violations for the past three years, as a part of the Safety Performance History (SPH) check process.

Instead, conducting a pre-employment query in the Clearinghouse will fulfill the requirement of obtaining a driver’s record of drug and alcohol violations, since the DOT Clearinghouse will have three years of data for all registered users since its official start on January 6, 2020 (Foley Services).

Don’t Sleep Through this Blog Post

Did you know your BMI and sleep can impact your DOT physical? The body mass index (BMI) is an important factor in the DOT physical exam, as it can impact your overall health and fitness as a commercial driver. A BMI over 40 automatically triggers a recommendation for a sleep apnea test, while BMI values between 33 and 40 require additional criteria to be flagged for the test. These additional criteria include being male, having a neck measurement greater than 17 inches for men or 16 inches for women, and having an increased risk of cardiovascular disease due to lifestyle choices like smoking or a lack of exercise. Even if your BMI falls below the threshold for testing, the presence of any of these criteria may result in a recommendation for a sleep study to ensure that you are healthy and fit to drive safely on the road (FMSCA Registration).

At MedPhysicals Plus, we understand that there is a lot to unpack with the 2023 DOT physical requirements. However, we’re here to help. You can always give us a call or schedule an appointment at our Wasilla, Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Soldotna locations to ensure that you’re prepared and ready for your 2023 physical exam. Best of luck, and drive safe!

The Federal Carrier Motor Safety Administration has an FAQ section on their website with technical expertise on everything from oxygen tanks to vision testing.