First look at new cameras, tracking system in ODOT plow trucks

CLEVELAND-- The FOX 8 I-Team is giving you the first look at a new system with cameras and a tracking system going into all state plow trucks.

The Ohio Department of Transportation said this will help managers target the most dangerous areas with snow and ice on the highway at any given moment.

Last winter, the I-Team revealed the state testing cameras. Some cameras being tested even sent back video to headquarters.

The system being installed now uses cameras that take still images. Supervisors can go to a computer, see where every truck is and see the conditions plow drivers are seeing.

ODOT spokesperson Amanda McFarland showed us how the trucks show up on a map. The cameras take pictures every five minutes. Managers can click on a truck and see the most recent pictures.

They can also have the camera take a picture with the click of a button. Maybe the conditions are better than expected. Or maybe, they’re worse, and more crews should be sent to a particular area.

"Then they can go, ‘You know what? I see over 77, it's really starting to come down. Maybe we should grab another truck and we can tandem plow up 77,'" McFarland said.

The system can also tell if a plow is putting down salt and how much.

The I-Team has shown you city of Cleveland plow crews also now use new tracking technology. The Cleveland system shows bosses where the trucks are and what they’re doing.

Drivers we met all pointed to different trouble spots in the snow and ice. They’re encouraged by the impact the new technology could have.

ODOT said most state plow trucks in Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga counties already have the new cameras. All 1,500 state trucks should have the new cameras by sometime next winter.