Interview: Taking the DOT medical exam for your CDL
Dave Compton: Hi, this is Dave Compton from Truckjobseekers.com and joining me today is Bob Perry from fit2pass.com. He’s known as The Truck Trainer. Bob, thanks for joining me.
Bob Perry: Thank you, David. Looking forward to it. I appreciate you having me on.
Dave Compton: Yeah, my pleasure. Hey, so we’re going to be talking today about people that are looking to get their CDL. They’re the first timers. Now I know Fit to Pass, the company is really known about keeping drivers that already have their CDL on the road [crosstalk 00:00:30] health issues that they go through and the re-qualifying and so on, which is a whole other subject. But today we’re going to be talking about the new drivers and that first DOT test, which it’s a mystery to some of these guys, right?
Bob Perry: Exactly, very much.
Dave Compton: The first question I got for you is I’m a newbie. I’m trying to get my CDL. Now I’m hit with this. What the heck is it? There’s this medical test. Do I have to take it?
Bob Perry: Yes, you do, David. And the other next requirement is that you have to go to someone who is in the national DOT-certified registry of DOT examiners. You just can’t go to any doctor and get you a physical and expect to take that in and say, “Here I am.” You have to go to someone, which you can go on the administration site, look it up, find one, and if you’re going through a school or you’re being hired by carrier-for-hire, then they’ll have their own DOT examiners they will send you to. But yes, my friend, if you want to get a paycheck and go to work, buddy, you’re going to take you a DOT exam.
Dave Compton: Okay. So that means like if I just three months ago went to my doctor and I had this stress test with my heart and the treadmill, the whole thing. I can’t just come bring you the paperwork and use that?
Bob Perry: No, but good for you if you did that. So you get kind of a snapshot of where you’re at today. Know what you’re heading for, so that’s good. But no, you’re going to have to go to a DOT examiner.
Dave Compton: Okay. So I kind of know what my regular health checkup is. Tell me about this. Is it similar? Is it different? What am I facing?
Bob Perry: Yeah, somewhat, David. They’re going to really monitor your blood pressure, your sugar, hearing, eyesight. They’re going to check you for your ability to bend over or come up, check your heart rates and so forth. Being able to lift certain amount of weight, your flexibility, getting up and down from a trailer, being able to get under a trailer to look and observe and see if there’s anything going on that isn’t normal. And then they’re going to check for shy bladder. You know, those type of things. You’re going to have to do a urine assessment, you’re going have to do all those kinds of things, right? So it is a little more extensive and it is different and they want to do that of course, for a lot of reasons. And number one is safety, right? You can’t be safe if you’re not well.
Dave Compton: Right, right. Got it. So knowing that this is not like my, teen physical, that I went to my normal doc for that they’re going to be, like I said, my mobility and things like that. Okay. So now that I know that, I’ve already got all this other stuff that I got to study for, but what can I do to prepare for this medical exam? Is there anything that I can do to stack the deck in my favor?
Bob Perry: Absolutely. What you want to be able to do is you want to make sure you are in front of it. And doing the preliminary, if you did go recently, you may have an idea that, “My blood pressure might be a little elevated, I might have some sugar issues.” You need to understand that and how do I combat that? Right? “How do I get in front of it?” I tell drivers all the time, “You don’t drive your rig down the road at night with your lights out, right?” So manage your health the same way, get in front of it.
Bob Perry: I’d say the most common mistake that I have drivers make when they come in for their DOT exam, they think smoking calms them down, right? Relaxes them. And it’s the opposite. It elevates your blood pressure. You don’t want that. And you want to make sure you’re hydrated, well hydrated, keep your levels in check, make sure you’re eating properly. And good foods, right?
Bob Perry: Make sure you got some good protein in your belly the morning before and everyday you should, and rest and be ready when you go in. And we all get a little anxious, right? You’ve heard of the white coat syndrome, it’s a fact. My previous life I managed and ran medical clinics at truck stops for that to work with drivers doing their DOT re-certification and new certification. And they come in and they can be a little anxious, so it’s important that you don’t have yourself, as we call on the bubble, right? That you feeling confident, you’re alert, you’re ready to go in and take care of the task.
Dave Compton: Right? So I’ve already heard, they’ve already told me I’m the new guy. They’ve already said about the skills test and the written test. They already said, “Study, study, study, practice, practice, practice.” Okay. But I was born with this body. Okay. I’m not going to become Arnold Schwarzenegger in three weeks, okay? So what happens if I fail?
Bob Perry: Well, first part of that, it’s a good thing you don’t have to worry about being Arnold, right? Because you’re not going to be a bodybuilder. We’re talking about just practicing good health measures. One of the other key tips I can give you, when you go in, make sure you go in, they set you down and you’re going to do your blood pressure and so forth. Just find a place in your brain that you can get relaxed and think of something good that makes you feel good and comfortable, right? And don’t cross your legs. Sit up straight, relax, breathe comfortably.
Bob Perry: And in the event, if you do fail, then they’re going to ask you to come back. Sometimes even if it’s your blood pressure, for example, a little elevated, they may be generous enough to let you go in the other room and lay down for a few minutes, kind of collect your thoughts and then retest you. But if they say, “Sorry David, not good today.” Depending on what that is and what that looks like, you may have to wait as much as three months before you can return. Or they may give you 30 days to come back and do another test. Or they may let you come back. Just depends on what your normals are.
Dave Compton: Very cool. Well, thanks for all that info, Bob. It was great. If you’re a new driver out there and you’re interested about this subject and Bob’s company, you can go to the link below. Thanks a lot, Bob.
Bob Perry: Thank you my friend.