By Tony Lopez

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — With the Fix 50 project adding to gridlock, you might notice a few more angry drivers on the road.

But a Swiss device in your car could help you avoid angry confrontations and road rage incidents.

It’s called an emotion detection system, and it reads the driver’s facial expressions, looking for signs of agitation as they’re behind the wheel.

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has designed an infrared camera that goes behind the steering wheel. When anger is detected, the stress indicator goes up and an alarm sounds, followed by soothing, mellow music.

A leading road rage researcher tested out the device and says that in a majority of cases, irritation could be accurately detected.

We found our own expert. Henning Mortensen owns a Sacramento-area driving school and helps new vehicle safety devices reach the market.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” he said.

But would it actually work? Some experts suggest it’s made to work for drivers who have been busted for violent road incidents, and ordered to use it by a court.

Mortensen agrees the device could set younger drivers on the right path to controlling their anger behind the wheel. Since a AAA study found male drivers 16 to 26 are the biggest culprits of road rage.

The camera isn’t available yet in the United States.

Both Sacramento and San Francisco have made the Top 10 list for cities that have the most incidents of road rage.

Researchers are working on a similar idea that could sense whether a driver is fatigued and do something to alert them, or wake them up.


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