In most states, people wanting to drive need a license, but they do not have to pass a physical exam. However, the Department of Transportation, or DOT, does require a physical exam for commercial drivers' licenses, and in some states, employees in certain career fields are not allowed to start their first day of work without a DOT physical exam. Here are some examples of careers that will require that you pass a DOT physical before you are offered a job and begin work.
Not only do postal carriers need a commercial driver's license, but they also need to pass physical health exams. Most carriers walk their routes, and need to be in reasonably good health to walk several miles a day, carrying heavy bags of mail and delivering it. They have to lift heavy mail cartons into the backs of their vehicles, and be able to see and read the addresses well. Additionally, postal carriers are limited when it comes to various physical disorders that they can have and still conduct their jobs safely. For example, a person who has epilepsy but the seizure disorder is not adequately controlled probably will not be able to do most of the work involved with this career. Only a physician who performs the required DOT physical can clear you for this type of employment.
Long Distance Semi Drivers
Because you are driving a long-haul truck, you have to be able to manage your health and the conditions of the road at the same time. You also have to be able to manage long periods of sitting without falling asleep or experiencing extreme back, neck, shoulder or hip pain. Knowing when you need to pull over and rest or take medications, such as insulin for diabetes, is a necessary part of the job. You may have certain physical ailments in this line of work, so long as they are controlled and you know what to do to keep them in check. During your DOT physical, the doctor will ask you what these conditions are, how well you manage them, and how you expect to handle them when you are on the road driving across the country.
Heavy Equipment Operators
Being in poor physical health, having poor eyesight and/or having poor hearing does not combine well with operating heavy construction equipment. In fact, it can be a downright lethal combination. These trucks are designed to do a lot of damage and if you cannot see well enough or hear your boss's shouts to stop the machine, you can cause yourself and others some fairly horrible injuries. For those reasons alone it should be no surprise that the DOT requires a physical exam before passing you and giving you your commercial truck license to operate this machinery.