There are several situations where you’ll be required to have a DOT medical exam in order to attain a DOT medical card.
The most obvious answer are drivers that maintain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). There are some scenarios where a DOT medical card is required but a CDL isn’t needed. An example of this would be a box truck.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):
A DOT medical card is approved in accordance with FMCSA physical qualification standards. It’s required when the driver is operating a commercial motor vehicle in interstate and intrastate commerce and meets the following any of the following criteria.
• A vehicle with a combined gross vehicle weight of 10,0001 lbs or more.
• Carrying 9-15 passengers (including the driver) for compensation.
• Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) regardless of compensation.
• A vehicle that transports hazardous materials in quantities that require placarding.
• When a driver returns from an illness or injury that interferes with ones ability to drive.
The medical examiner is responsible for certifying only drivers who meet the physical qualification standards.
A DOT medical card cannot exceed 2 years and is at the discretion of the FMCSA certified medical examiner.
The Federal Vision and Diabetes Exemption Programs require annual medical certification.