What are the vision requirements to get a DOT medical card?

You must have a distant visual acuity of at least 20/40 with or without corrective lenses:

see at least 20/40 with both eyes together

see at least 20/40 with the right eye

see at least 20/40 with the left eye.

Monovision is a disqualification. Use of a contact lens in one eye for distant visual acuity and another lens in the other eye for near vision is not acceptable, nor are telescopic lenses acceptable for driving a commercial motor vehicle.

Exemption: A driver with monocular vision may be able to get a Federal Vision Exemption Certificate, if medically fit for duty in all other categories of the physical exam.

What if I have monocular vision?

If you pass all other aspects of the DOT physical, and you meet all vision requirements in the functioning eye, then you may be considered for a Federal Vision Exemption.

Can I wear contact lenses to do the vision test?

You are permitted to wear contact lenses provided you’re used to wearing them and have a good tolerance for wearing contacts. Be aware that monovision is a disqualification, so use of a contact lens in one eye for distant visual acuity and another lens in the other eye for near vision is not acceptable.

What if I have had laser eye surgery?

Provided you meet the vision requirements, you should have no problem.

I am legally blind in one eye from an injury? With documentation from my eye specialist can I pass the DOT physical?

This type of injury will require documentation.
If you are going to drive only within your state borders, it will be easier. Just check with your DMV to see what the states rules and regulations are. To pursue an interstate medical card will require an exemption that you can only get from FMCSA. Check out the requirements to determine if this is something you want to pursue. It is possible, but a bit tough to do. Lots of hoops, but do-able.

I need to obtain a vision waiver. Where can I get the forms?

FMCSA has a Vision Exemption Program which has specific requirements for each application. You will get a decision within 180 days of completing your application. To find out more and get the forms go to this FMCSA official webpage.

I have 20/20 vision corrected, right eye. 20/200 uncorrectable in my left eye, 70 degree plus horizontal left and right. Does this fail the DOT physical?

DOT requires you have a minimum of 20/40 vision in each eye, and in both eyes together, either non-corrective or with corrective lenses. Your peripheral vision is within normal limits.

All that being said, you could be driving skills tested with a FMCSA exemption. Check with the FMCSA for the requirements for that particular exemption.

I’ve been a CDL driver for 16 years. Last week, for my DOT physical the doctor made me do the color test from a book with numbers and dots. I could get only half of them right. I have always been able to see the colors red, green and amber and pass my DOT physical. Now the book test has made me fail the color portion of the DOT physical. What’s going on with this?

It looks like the doctor is trying to determine if you may be color blind. But the primary reason for the DOT physical color test is to determine your ability to distinguish red, amber/yellow and green – not a color blindness examination. Not really sure as to why they would do this. Especially since you have been driving for so long. You are correct to question this.