PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The head of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) says the agency is in “good shape” for winter, but it’s still working to grow its stable of snow plow drivers and vendors.

The state saw its first significant snowfall of the season Sunday night into Monday, with some areas seeing several inches of accumulations. R.I. State Police responded to more than 50 crashes, despite RIDOT’s efforts to pre-treat and clear the roadways.

“Regardless of how much material we put down on the ground, when the temperatures begin to drop and the sun goes down, it can still be a bit slick,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti said. “And it being the first storm, people are getting used to driving in slick conditions again, so it’s not unusual that we have some accidents.”

Recruiting plow drivers has been difficult in recent years, according to Alviti, with fewer people being equipped with commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) and private vendors facing challenges of their own.

In hopes of increasing the number of private vendors on its roster, the state increased its fees earlier this year and started paying them on an hourly basis. Alviti told 12 News the state is also offering a 15% bonus to encourage vendors to sign up early.

“I think that has given us about 40 or so more vendors during the last month, which is good response,” he said. “We’re looking at another 50 to 70 more just to have a good cushion of vendors, but judging from last night’s response, we’re in good shape.”

Alviti said having closer to 300 plow drivers will ensure RIDOT is prepared to handle a massive snow event, should that occur. But in the meantime, the 230 to 240 vendors who have already signed up will be out clearing the roads this winter.

“We’re ready to take on whatever Mother Nature has to offer,” Alviti added.

Visit RIDOT’s website to learn more about signing up to become a plow driver.

Alexandra Leslie contributed to this report.