DOT Physical Blood Pressure

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by rowekmr, Nov 3, 2020.

  1. FFL Trucker

    FFL Trucker Light Load Member

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    I've had to take 4 dot physicals in the last 2 months and my medical card was a month old and good for 2 years same as always.

    Depends on the company and the type of work that you do, I've taken some physicals that were a 5 hr long process involving physical therapist checking the range of motion of my body to my hr after doing physical exercise climbing ladders, stairs and what not.

    Most good companies will want you to see their guy no matter what, it's a liability thing. They need to ensure that you're fit for duty, if something happens they can face a lawsuit if you decided to use a doctor that just waves you through. The last DO physical required an audiogram, this isn't for my benefit, this is to get a baseline for my hearing in case I try to sue them for hearing loss later on.

    If all you're going to do is some dry van, than they probably won't care.
     
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  3. Moose1958

    Moose1958 Road Train Member

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    It's been so dang long since I had a physical done I really no longer feel qualified to opine on the subject any longer. So to spare people from one of those "good ole days" comments I will bow out of this one!
     
  4. Dockbumper

    Dockbumper Road Train Member

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    Take a look around any truck stop. If a true PHYSICAL EXAM was required to keep your CDL, there would be an ACTUAL Driver Shortage.
     
  5. Studebaker Hawk

    Studebaker Hawk Road Train Member

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    I have copies of my DOT physicals going back to the mid 1980's, when I was 30 years old. It also indicates the other basic statistics, weight mostly.
    My blood pressure has never been below 135/85 No physician, at a DOT physical or at time of more detailed care (knee operation) ever thought anything of it. For years I went to my family physician for my DOT physical, he was aware of the entire patients health ( 6' tall, 180 lbs, bicycle average of over 1000 miles per year etc. )
    2 things changed.
    The "guidance" in 2003 lowering the requirement from less than160/90 for a 2 year card to less than 140/80, 3 month cards otherwise. Totally arbitrary numbers promoted (paid for)by the pharmaceutical/medical/insurance industrial complex and adopted by the Federal government.
    The DOT physical registry in 2014, which virtually eliminated going to your primary care provider for a DOT physical. Now you deal with complete strangers.
    The issue at the crux of the matter is:
    Is this person healthy enough to do his job, that is drive a truck without having an immediate complete medical emergency which might endanger the motoring public.
    Not whether or not this individual is being held to some higher health standard, so far impossible to quantify.

    Blood pressure readings and neck size are being used to disqualify many drivers without any legitimate studies indicating that either affect the actual safe of the operation of a large truck. The number of times a driver dies behind the wheel and has an accident is infinitesimally small. Fatigue may be an issue, but many other variables are involved there.
    Just like the reason we all have to take random drug tests were because of 2 high profile RR accidents (a Conrail pair of engines in Maryland - pot smoking involved and an accident in the NY subway system where beer was found in the engineers cab) and the whole blood pressure/sleep apnea thing were because of a couple of overweight motor coach drivers who fell asleep at the wheel or had a cardiac event.

    No problem. You want young skinny drivers from another place on the planet instead of experienced skilled older drivers, fine.
    You have them now.....
     
  6. Moose1958

    Moose1958 Road Train Member

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    With respect, I would add a 3rd thing that has happened. It's not as cut and dry as the two you mentioned but still critical to understand. The FMCSA/DOT has been setting up the medical rules to transfer more liability onto the MEs with respect to things like diabetes, heart problems, and eyesight!
     
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  7. Moose1958

    Moose1958 Road Train Member

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    I'm going to quote my own comment to tie it into what @FFL Trucker seems to be trying to say. As @Studebaker Hawk has stated (((CORRECTLY)) things have changed in regard to medical since the mid-90s. Carriers have developed policies in regard to things like I mentioned in my quoted comment. They do this for many reasons NOT just insurance. For example, if I was operating a fleet of flatbeds I would want my drivers to be physically able to climb up and strap & tarp! For this reason, I might well want the ME I use to cull out a driver that is not up to this task. Just beware of something I have said for years now though! In this industry there is very few one size fits all answers. BTW, last time I checked the ME registry my old family doc back in Georgia is still doing physicals. This does not surprise me because he has a lot of truckers that use him as their family doc!
     
  8. Studebaker Hawk

    Studebaker Hawk Road Train Member

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    When I was hiring drivers for Penske Logistics in the late 90's, this is exactly how we "culled" potential hires, not just because they couldn't do the job, but for other cost considerations, potential workmen's comp claims, even personal health claims. We would have a meeting with "our doctor" and explain to him what we considered an ideal candidate and what the parameters were. He got the drift. Can't argue with a medical determination. Stopped the discrimination lawsuits cold.
    We were hiring for positions drivers wanted bad. Regular runs, home nights, hourly pay, excellent benefits, usually union jobs. Using a physical to disqualify has been around for a long time.
     
  9. Moose1958

    Moose1958 Road Train Member

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    I can't agree with "for a long time" but I do agree with everything else. I am old enough to remember when generally speaking MEs handed cards out like they were candy. You had a pulse, could read off those numbers, and could tell those three colors, you got a 2-year card. I remember my first physical. The ME actually just stuck his head in the door and said the nurse had my card! I was never actually examined that day! The nurse took all my vitals and did the vision check. Unless your blood pressure was so high you rang the bell you still got a 2-year card. As was mentioned, when the FMCSA dropped that top number from 160 to 140 things got MUCH tighter. I am bothered though by the MEs getting all this liability thrust on them. Might well cause some major issues down the road!
     
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