The New 2022 DOT Physical – What You Need to Know

The New 2022 DOT Physical – What You Need to Know

The new driver physical requirement has been put in place this year by the DOT as an important part of keeping America’s roads and highways safe. Let’s take a look at what it is and what you need to do to keep compliant with the new health exam requirements.

What is the new 2022 DOT Physical?

The new 2022 DOT physical is a health exam required of commercial drivers by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to ensure that commercial drivers are capable of fulfilling their job. This exam must be completed by a DOT medical examiner and documented every 24 months.

Are All Drivers Required to Get a DOT Physical?

This requirement applies to the following classifications of drivers:

  • Drivers who transport hazardous materials
  • Drivers who are paid to operate a vehicle that carries over 8 people
  • Drivers who operate a vehicle that carries more than 15 people
  • Drivers who operate a vehicle with a gross combined weight of over 10,000 pounds

What does the Physical Consist of?

The DOT exam will cover:

  • Health history
  • Vision assessment
  • Hearing test
  • Blood pressure

As well as a number of other health factors that can indicate a risk while operating a commercial vehicle.

What Factors Might Disqualify a Driver?

Here are a few guidelines and some minimum requirements for drivers to pass their exam:

  • 20/40 vision in each eye (with or without glasses); 70+ degrees field of vision; the ability to distinguish between red, green, and yellow.
  • The hearing test requires you to hear a harsh whisper in your best ear
  • Blood pressure below 180/100; blood pressure between 140/90 and 179/109 may require an annual exam.
  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes, hernias, obesity, and sleep apnea that are not in control
  • Uncontrolled or unstable heart conditions
  • Epilepsy or seizure disorders
  • Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder that causes dizziness
  • Use of marijuana, even if prescribed
  • Use of illegal substances
  • Use of oxygen therapy
  • Some respiratory conditions

What You Need to Know for Compliance

Just like any other DOT requirement, if your driver is caught without a medical certificate, they are taken off the road and you will pay for it. Not just in fines, but in the business that is impacted by the loss of a driver.

As driver requirements are changed, increased, and refined, it is so important to have a way to track which of your drivers complies and who may be coming due for their next medical exam.

Take a look at DQMConnect. This amazing application is helping many companies address the same concerns. Real-time alerts and a dashboard view of your driver compliance, puts you in control.

Keep your company safe, your drivers compliant, and your clients happy with DQMConnect.

Insurance Filing

Insurance Filing

“One thing you may not be doing that can affect your DOT!”

Every year at renewal your insurance agency must file your new policies with the FMCSA and Motor Carrier Permit division. Failure to do this can result in your authority being revoked and your MCP to be inactive. Both permits are a foundational permit that can put your operations to a halt. Make sure you are communicating with your insurance agency to ensure they are filing your updated policies on time.

US DOT: (link to insurance requirements)

Form BMC-91

Motor Carrier Permit: Form MC-65 M. This form can also be filed online at

**Both Liability Insurance and Workers’ Compensation must be filed if your company falls under Workers’ Compensation requirement per CA Insurance regulations.

FMSCA Safety Ratings

FMSCA Safety Ratings

A motor carrier’s DOT safety rating indicates whether a company has adequate and functioning safety management controls to meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) safety fitness standard based on the results of a compliance review (CR).

Safety Rating Levels

Safety rating are broken down into 3 basic levels and will be assigned to a carrier:

Satisfactory. Functioning and adequate safety management controls are in place to meet the safety fitness standard.

Conditional. Inadequate safety management controls are in place. You cannot ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard. You have deficient areas that FMCSA expects the carrier to resolve. However, you can continue to operate.

Unsatisfactory. Inadequate safety management controls are in place. You cannot ensure compliance with the safety fitness standard. Your safety program has too many deficiencies to allow your fleet to continue operating.

If your organization has never had a CR, your fleet will be unrated on the SAFER site.

Factors that Impact Ratings

The safety fitness standard is determined through the results of a CR. The areas of compliance for the standard are outlined in §385.5. They are based on previous audits and are updated monthly after reviewing accident data and violation status.

The key factors in ratings include:

  • Hours of Service (HOS)
  • Unsafe Driving
  • Controlled Substances and Alcohol
  • Driver Fitness
  • Accident History
  • Maintenance of Vehicles
  • Hazardous Materials Compliance

Where Can I Find My DOT Safety Rating?

Your companies DOT safety rating is available to you — and the general public — at FMCSA’s SAFER website.

Since anyone can look at your safety record, a poor safety rating can affect your insurance rates and hurt your company’s reputation, hinder your driver recruiting efforts and result in a loss of customers.

To help avoid a less-than-favorable safety rating, you need to understand what the agency will examine during an audit.

How Can I Improve My Safety Rating?

If your company has received a conditional or unsatisfactory rating, you may request a rating change at any time. The FMCSA would expect to see a safety management plan to address the violations discovered during the CR. Based on the contents of the plan, the FMCSA may issue an improved safety rating.

Maintaining a solid DOT safety rating is critical to your reputation as a motor carrier and can save your company a lot of time and money!

VLC will be expanding our core features to include a safety tracking module to ensure good driver behavior and improve and encourage good CSA scores. Contact us to learn more.

FMCSA Offsite Audits on the Rise

FMCSA Offsite Audits on the Rise

The FMCSA has been conducting offsite audits for over 3 years. Starting in 2019, they were largely focused on safety reviews. However, the number and types of offsite audits have been on the rise. The pandemic encouraged the transition while the ease and cost effectiveness of offsite audits are continuing the trend upward.

In 2020, nearly 5 times the number of offsite audits were conducted as compared with 2019. Last year, 2021 saw a rule change enabling the FMCSA to issue safety ratings after an offsite audit. More motor carriers are receiving a “conditional” safety rating than “satisfactory”, despite so many audits being done remotely. This is something the agency could never do before.

Given the trend of the past 3 years and the fact that offsite audits appear to be working, they will likely remain part of the agency’s approach for years to come.

Let’s examine the audit numbers for 2021.

6% increase in audits; 95% resulting in violations

30% increase in audits that uncovered severe violations

37% increase in audits with critical violations such as missing records

The rise in conditional safety ratings is an important consideration for any HR manager or Fleet Manager. Conditional safety ratings can have costly consequences, including lost customers, higher insurance rates, and increased liability in court.

The Transition to Offsite Audits

As we can see, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is relying more heavily on offsite audits. It is time for you to embrace a DQM File Management tool to help ensure your compliance and facilitate these offsite audits. DQMConnect has a truly unique approach to DQM File Management. You maintain control of your files and it presents you with your compliance status and prepares the necessary audit files right from the Dashboard. No waiting. No loss of control. The data is yours and is accessible 24×7. For you and for the auditor should you need it.

Let us show you why more carriers are moving to DQMConnect to stay in control, in compliance, and audit ready!

Release of Liability

Release of Liability

“Sold your vehicle? Here’s an important step most people don’t know about.”

File a release of liability with CA DMV.

Why should you file?

You have signed off the title and handed it over to the new owner to complete the transfer. A lot can happen between handing that title over to the new owner and the actual transfer being processed.

To ensure you are not held liable after the sales transaction has been completed, file a release of liability with the CA DMV. This ensures that if an incident occurs involving that vehicle, you are not held liable for the damages and repercussions.

If you need assistance with filing a release of liability, contact VLC.

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