I TEAM: First look from plow cameras

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CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM is giving you the first look from cameras inside the plows helping state road crews decide where and when they need more plows to deal with snowfall.

The I TEAM revealed last year that the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is testing 180 cameras in plows. Now we can see what some of the cameras are capturing.

Most of the cameras send back still photos every 5 minutes to headquarters. Some cameras can send back video. Managers monitor the cameras, and they can use what they see to decide if they need more crews in a given area, or less in another.

For instance, we reviewed a camera that recently sent back a picture of a wet roadway. But five minutes later, the same camera captured a whiteout in the same area.

Another camera recorded snowy road conditions on a Summit County highway just before a car hit a plow. Plow driver Steve MacAdam says the driver of that car complained to him about plowing snow into his car, but the camera helped show the car tried to pass the plow. MacAdam says that’s a common problem. He added, “Management can then see the road conditions that we're experiencing. They can see it real-time. They kinda have the same eyes that we have."

The state is working with the University of Akron testing the camera systems. ODOT is reviewing proposals to gauge the cost of expanding the program statewide.

The I TEAM revealed ODOT did something similar in July to help with security for the Republican National Convention. Plow trucks drove around with cameras, and they sent video back to police headquarters.

The cameras help show that  plow drivers see what you see. MacAdam said, "It’s difficult to sometimes see the highway or anything around you. Some snowfalls are so substantial that we can't keep up with them."

More stories on the snow storm here