Every state requires CDL applicants to pass a physical exam in order to determine whether they have any physical or mental condition that would prevent them from operating a commercial motor vehicle safely. This is in addition to the written and road skills test, that are needed to asses your knowledge of rules and regulations involved in driving a commercial vehicle, and test your basic driving skills. After you have passed the CDL physical exam, you will receive a Department of Transportation (DOT) Medical Examiner's Certificate, which you have to carry with your whenever you are driving a commercial vehicle. The CDL physical exam consists of a vision and hearing test, as well as a blood pressure test, and it assesses your health history.
During the hearing test, you have to stand at least 5 feet from the examiner, who will test whether you can perceive a forced whispered voice from that distance. The examiner will also look for evidence and symptoms of any ear disease.
For the vision test, you have to prove that you have a 20/40 vision in both eyes, with or without correction. If you use corrective lenses, it will be noted on the certificate. Applicants have to be able to recognize and distinguish among traffic control signals and devices that show red, green and amber colors.
If your blood pressure is lower than 140/90, you will get a two-year certificate. If it is higher than 140/90, but lower than 160/100, you will receive a onetime certificate for 3 months. Applicants whose blood pressure is between 160/100 and 179/109, receive a one-time certificate for three months, and have to be threated. Once they reduce their pressure to 140/90 or less, they can be recerttified. If your blood pressure is over 180/110, you won't be certified, and you will be eligible for a recertification after 6 months if you manage to reduce it to 140/90 or less.
In most cases, people fail the CDL physical exam because of high blood pressure and high sugar levels in their urine. There are medications you can take, that manage blood pressure and sugar levels, and after you've managed to bring those levels down, you can take the physical exam once again.
Most trucking companies in New Jersey offer part-time jobs that don't involve driving a commercial vehicle to employees who have failed their CDL physical exams, until they manage to correct their medical condition. Furthermore, in case you fail a CDL physical, you are allowed to go to another certified medical examiner and take the test elsewhere.