Georgia’s Roads and Rigorous Standards


IN THE SCENIC state of Georgia, highways stretch across rolling hills, historical sites and bustling urban centers. Among the vehicles traveling these roadways are thousands of commercial trucks essential for maintaining our communities and economy. They transport goods from one corner of the state to another, ensuring shelves are stocked, businesses thrive and consumers get what they need. But there’s one vital component behind every safe truck journey: the health of the driver.



The health and well-being of truck drivers is as important as the condition of the vehicle when transporting goods. In Georgia, as with the entire United States, truck drivers must undergo a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical. This is a genuine safeguard for the driver, other road users and the cargo they transport.

Ensuring Safety: Trucks are large, powerful vehicles. A minor mishap can result in significant consequences. By ensuring that drivers are in optimal health, the DOT physically minimizes the risk of medical conditions causing accidents.

Promoting Driver Health: The rigors of long-haul driving aren’t for everyone. Extended hours, sedentary periods and irregular schedules can take a toll on health. Regular health check-ups remind drivers to prioritize their well-being.

Reducing Liability: In the unfortunate event of an accident, companies want to ensure they’ve done their due diligence in making sure their drivers are fit to be on the road. A DOT physical can be evidence of that commitment.


The DOT physical, conducted by a licensed medical examiner, is more than a regular health check-up. It’s tailored to the unique demands of truck driving.

Heart & Circulation: Given the sedentary nature of driving, cardiovascular health is paramount. Examiners look for signs of heart disease or conditions that could cause sudden incapacity.

Vision & Hearing: The state of these two senses is critical for safe driving. Georgia, adhering to federal standards, requires drivers to have at least 20/40 vision in each eye and be able to perceive a forced whispered voice in the better ear at a minimum of five feet.

Medication Review: Some medications can impact reaction times or cause drowsiness. The physical evaluates whether a driver’s medications might interfere with their ability to operate a truck safely.

Physical Ability: This might include ensuring a driver can lift heavy loads if their job requires it, or that they can maintain control of their vehicle in emergencies.

Mental and Neurological Health: Conditions such as epilepsy or untreated mental health disorders might impact a driver’s ability to perform safely.


While the DOT physically aims to ensure safety, not all health conditions are absolute bars to driving. Some might require further evaluation, treatment or a waiting period. However, there are specific conditions that are usually considered disqualifiers.

Vision Below DOT Standards: If corrective lenses cannot bring a driver’s vision up to the 20/40 standard, they might be disqualified.

Advanced Cardiovascular Disease: While controlled hypertension might be acceptable, certain cardiovascular conditions, especially without proper treatment, can be disqualifying.

Severe Respiratory Disorders: Conditions that might cause sudden breathlessness or incapacitation can be a major concern.

Insulin-Dependent Diabetes: Historically, insulin-dependent diabetics were barred. However, while still stringent, federal regulations have relaxed, allowing some insulin-dependent drivers, under strict controls.

Substance Abuse: Active substance abuse or a history of abuse without adequate proof of recovery can be disqualifying.

Certain Medications: Some medicines, especially those with sedative properties or those that can impair cognitive functions, can be grounds for disqualification.

Epilepsy: A history of epilepsy or taking anti-seizure medications are typically disqualifying issues.

Hearing: A driver that cannot hear up to DOT standards (hearing aids are allowed) cannot be qualified.

Marijuana use: Because marijuana is not legal at the federal level, any marijuana use is disqualifying.

Every safe truck driver’s journey begins with a DOT physical. The DOT physical is more than a formality or a piece of paper; it’s a commitment, a reminder and a testament to the state’s dedication to safety on the road.

For every driver gearing up for their DOT physical, remember: It’s not just about ticking a box; it’s about ensuring you’re at your best so you can safely tackle the miles ahead. Safe travels!

Piedmont Urgent Care Occupational Medicine is a proud partner to thousands of commercial truck drivers in need of DOT physicals and other career-related screenings. With over 65 locations throughout Georgia, clinics are conveniently located just off major highways and in the heart of the small towns in between. From Macon to Athens and Atlanta to Columbus, Piedmont Urgent Care offers occupational medicine services 365 days a year. Most clinics are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.


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