Regardless of the current state of your health, it’s a good idea for individuals to see their doctor and get a regular physical. For people in their teens and early-20s, that means getting a physical every two to three years. People in their mid-20s to mid-60s should get a physical once every one to two years, and those who are over 65 should get a physical once a year. And if you’re a truck driver, you’re required to pass a stricter department of transportation physical exam once every two years.
Those with commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) are required by law to have a physical once every two years by a qualified health professional listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
Local truckers now have the option of seeing Dr. Nick Weber at Lyon County Chiropractic. Weber recently completed training and passed a test that allowed him to become a certified medical examiner.
“I’d looked into it before, and I’ve had some other friends of mine who are certified, but I decided to get the certification mainly because some patients had come in and asked if anyone here was able to do those physicals,” explained Weber.
Weber was required to go through training as part of a weekend course, and he said the process also requires a lot of “studying on your own time” and then passing a proctored test at a testing center.
He’s now listed as a certified medical examiner on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners website. Truckers using the site can easily locate a doctor who can perform the required physical. They simply have to enter a city and state in the search box or type in a zip code. The search results will display a list of the closest certified medical examiners, sorted by distance.
The law requiring stricter physicals for truck drivers has only been in place for about three years, after the department of transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) decided to take steps to improve safety for travelers and health for commercial truck drivers.
“It made it tougher for truckers to get on the road, which is kind of unfortunate if you’re a trucker, but it is what it is,” said Weber.
Because truck drivers often work long hours and often aren’t able to eat as well as they should or exercise regularly, the DOT decided to require the stricter physicals as part of its agenda to improve health and safety, not only for truck drivers but for other travelers as well.
Statistics reveal that about one out of every 10 traffic fatalities in the U.S. is from an accident where a large truck was involved. “So this is something the DOT looked at and said ‘we might be able to reduce injuries and fatalities if we required more comprehensive physicals’,” said Weber.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website, a USDOT medical exam looks at a range of conditions to assess a driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial vehicle, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory and muscular functions, vision, and hearing.
All interstate commercial truck and bus drivers must pass a USDOT medical examination at least every two years in order to obtain a valid medical certificate, maintain their CDL, and legally operate a commercial motor vehicle.
Additionally, certified medical examiners are required to go through periodic training and recertification testing. “There was a need for this,” said Weber. “Once the word gets out I imagine we’ll be pretty busy from it.”
He added that some truck drivers wait to renew their medical certificates until the last minute. “A lot of guys will need to get in soon, or now, and now we can offer the service to them. It’s just a nice service to have here and it opens a new service for the clinic.”