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February 23, 2012 05:03 PM

Cameras Help Reduce Accidents When Plowing

Sioux Falls, SD


The city of Sioux Falls is getting a different perspective of all of the dangers lurking on wintertime streets. When the city sees white, yellow isn't usually too far behind.

"In Sioux Falls, this is my bread and butter, this is what gets the snow off the streets in 30 hours or less," Street/Utility Manager Galynn Huber said.

But, having 32 of the city's oversize motor graders on the road means a higher chance of an accident because it's so hard to see around the large machines.

"We had an increasing number of accidents because when the motor graders are plowing a lot of times they have to back up and push, and back up and push, and in the process people come up behind us, and we don't see them," Huber said.

At least that used to be the case. But not anymore after the city decided to give their operators a new view, without even having to turn around.

"It’s nice for the operator because the monitor sits right above the windshield, the top, and as they're driving they can just look up before they go into reverse," Huber said.

The cameras essentially eliminate blind spots, because what the driver can't see in the mirrors, he can see in the camera. That's drastically reduced the number of accidents.

"This certainly helps us out to wait for the traffic to clear out behind us if it does sneak up behind us," Huber said.

Since the cameras were put in three years ago, there has only been one accident. Before, there could be up to three in just two weeks. That's a clear look at just how beneficial they are.

"The more we can see around us the better we are to avoid contact with a vehicle out there," Huber said.

So, even if you don't happen to see them, they're sure to see you.

Huber says he's hoping to put cameras in all of his big equipment within the next five years. He'd also like to put those cameras live online so the public can see where they're working.

He says the cameras are fairly inexpensive, costing fewer than $200 each.
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