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March 23, 2018 4:00 PM, EDT

Road to NTDC Kicks Off This Weekend in Louisiana

The journey to the National Truck Driving Championships has begun.

This weekend, professional drivers will compete in the Louisiana State Truck Driving Championships in Baton Rouge March 23 and 24, the first state qualifier for the national event.

2017 NTDC Champion Roland Bolduc

2017 NTDC Grand Champion Roland Bolduc. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

The competition in Louisiana will be followed by an April lineup that will include championships in South Carolina, Arizona, Mississippi, Tennessee and Nevada.

To qualify for nationals, drivers must earn top scores at states in the following categories: straight truck, three-axle tractor-semitrailer, four-axle tractor-semitrailer, five-axle tractor-semitrailer/tank, five-axle tractor-semitrailer/van, five-axle tractor-semitrailer/flatbed, five-axle tractor/sleeper cab semitrailer/van and twin trailers. Drivers also must be employed by a motor carrier fleet for at least a year and be accident free for a year before the championships.

“This weekend, Louisiana kicks off 2018’s state truck driving championship season, culminating in American Trucking Associations’ NTDC and [National Step Van Driving Championships] in Columbus in August, and we are really looking forward to an exciting and competitive spring and summer of driving safety excellence,” Brian Lagana, executive director of ATA’s Safety Management Council and Transportation Security Council, told Transport Topics on March 23.

Last year’s top honors at the national championships held in Orlando, Fla., went to Roland Bolduc, a FedEx Express driver for more than two decades. This year’s event will be held in Columbus, Ohio, in August.