The Department of Transportation (DOT) Physical Test is a critical examination that commercial drivers must undergo to ensure they are physically fit to operate their vehicles safely. One health condition that has garnered significant attention in recent years within the context of DOT Physical Tests is sleep apnea.

In this blog, we will explore the connection between sleep apnea and the DOT Physical Test, highlighting its significance, potential consequences, and what drivers need to know about this sleep disorder.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common yet often undiagnosed sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by interruptions in breathing during sleep, which lasts for seconds to minutes. These interruptions, or apneas, occur due to the relaxation of throat muscles, causing a temporary blockage of the airway. This results in loud snoring, choking, or gasping for air. Sleep apnea disrupts the natural sleep cycle, preventing the affected person from getting a restful night’s sleep.

The Significance of Sleep Apnea in DOT Physical Tests

The importance of addressing sleep apnea in the context of DOT Tests cannot be overstated. The condition leads to excessive daytime sleepiness, reduced cognitive function, and impaired alertness—symptoms that are particularly dangerous for commercial drivers. Fatigue and drowsiness while driving increase the risk of accidents, endangering the lives of not only the driver but also everyone sharing the road.

DOT Regulations and Sleep Apnea

The DOT is well aware of the risks associated with sleep apnea among commercial drivers. To address these concerns, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established regulations related to sleep apnea as part of the DOT Physical Test requirements. The last update came back in September 2021, the FMCSA required that drivers with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher must be evaluated for sleep apnea. This is because obesity is a significant risk factor for the condition.

Drivers who are suspected of having sleep apnea may be referred for further evaluation, which often involves a sleep study, also known as polysomnography. If diagnosed with sleep apnea, drivers are typically required to undergo treatment, which may include the use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. Compliance with treatment and regular follow-ups may be necessary to maintain their commercial driver’s license.

Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea

Neglecting to address sleep apnea has serious consequences for commercial drivers. In addition to the immediate dangers of fatigue and impaired alertness, untreated sleep apnea leads to a range of long-term health issues, including hypertension, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Moreover, non-compliance with treatment requirements results in the suspension or revocation of a driver’s commercial driver’s license.


The connection between sleep apnea and the DOT test is critical, and rooted in the safety of commercial drivers and the general public. Sleep apnea is a condition that significantly impairs a driver’s ability to perform their job safely and effectively. Therefore, commercial drivers must be aware of the risks associated with sleep apnea and the DOT regulations surrounding it.

In conclusion, NYUCC is committed to promoting road safety through our comprehensive DOT physical test services. We understand the significance of identifying and addressing conditions like sleep apnea in commercial drivers. Our team is dedicated to ensuring that drivers meet the required health standards, making the roads safer for all. Choose NYUCC for reliable, professional, and convenient DOT test services because your safety is our priority.