(860) 633-2660
Skip to content
  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.

Check Out Our Latest Product Release

CSA Monitor tracks your driver and risk data in real time.

Learn More

Reach Your Business Goals with Dash

Foley's customizable platform for your unique initiatives.

Learn More

New Resources Waiting for You & Your Team

Expert, always-free resources at your fingertips.

Learn More
DOT Physicals: What Happens When a Driver Fails?
4 mins read

A failed DOT physical can be discouraging. Here's what to do if you or one of your employees who drive aren't granted a DOT medical certificate.

As we’ve discussed earlier in our series on DOT physicals, all drivers must undergo a physical exam at least once every 24 months to legally operate a commercial motor vehicle. Oftentimes, drivers pass these exams without any problems, but that’s not always the case.

In some cases, the disqualification is unfortunately necessary because the person’s health would pose a threat to themself and the general public if they were to get behind the wheel of a truck. But sometimes the lines aren’t quite as clear, and what passes easily with one medical examiner might give another pause.

Because of this, the FMCSA has approved drivers to get a second opinion as long as they are upfront and honest about their medical history with the next medical examiner. Leaving out information during their DOT physical that could lead to a disqualification, or outright lying about their health, is illegal and can lead to fines against the driver.

Download Your FREE Guide on Driver File Creation Today

Before the driver goes “doctor shopping” in search of a valid medical certificate, they should keep in mind that physicians must report the results of all DOT physical exams to the FMCSA. These results are due within 24 hours of the exam.

What Will Make You Fail a DOT Physical?

There are several reasons someone might be considered unqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle for health reasons. Some of these reasons include the diagnosis of the following:

  • Cardiovascular or respiratory disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes
  • A nervous or psychiatric disease
  • Poor eyesight that isn’t improved with corrective lenses
  • Loss of a foot, hand, leg, or arm
  • Alcoholism

Use of an amphetamine, narcotic, or other habit-forming drug is also grounds for disqualification — even when used under the guidance of a physician.

FMCSA Medical Exemptions

As we covered in a previous article, the FMCSA does grant exemptions for drivers with certain conditions when they can prove that they’re able to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Known as “variances,” these exemptions are granted for drivers with diabetes, as well as vision and hearing issues. Drivers who have a missing or impaired limb that doesn’t interfere with their ability to drive safely can apply for a special variance known as a Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE).

You can learn more about these exemptions, and find instructions on how to apply for each one, here.

Read More Related Articles in the Foley DOT Physicals Series:

The DOT Physical: Everything You Need to Know 

DOT Physicals: Can Chiropractors and Other Doctors do DOT Physicals?

DOT Physicals: Vision Requirements for the Eye Exam      

DOT Physicals: Can You Pass with a High BMI or While Overweight? 

DOT Physicals: Can I Get a DOT Physical in Any State? 

DOT Physicals: Can You Pass with a Hernia? 

DOT Physicals: Will I Pass with Diabetes? 

DOT Physical Blood Pressure: Requirements & Tips for Passing 

DOT Physicals: Can I Pass With Sleep Apnea? 

DOT Physicals: What if I have a Medical Condition? 

DOT Physicals: Do They Include a Drug Test? 

How to Prepare for Your DOT Physical? 

Fail a DOT Physical? You Have a Right to a Second Opinion 

DOT Physicals: Understanding Medical Variances 

Fill out this form and a member of our team will reach out shorty.

Schedule a demo to see Dash in action.
A Foley expert is ready to help your company create a streamlined hiring, screening, and onboarding process that's easier for your candidate and team, while keeping you compliant with DOT and FMCSA requirements. Fill out this form, and we'll schedule a time for a personalized online demo of Dash.

Whether you’re looking for a quick background check, or a comprehensive DOT compliance solution, Foley can help.