A proposal has been initiated that starting in 2014 they will be required by the federal government in all new cars sold in the US. They are in some cars today. They are sometimes called Event Data Recorders. They are now used widely in commercial aircraft. The automotive insurance industry for them and privacy groups have concerns. Basically they will record certain things like your wearing your seatbelt or not , your speed, braking and turning in the last few minutes before you crash. These could provide evidence against you in a prosecution or provide a witness for you. Its orange to help investigators recover it more easily. They have been in some cars since 1999. In the 2007 crash of Govenor' Corzine's SUV it revealed the state trooper driving him was doing 92 mph at the time of the crash and Corzine was not wearing his seatbelt. Cars that have EDR's are supposed to state that in the owners manual.