The Washington Post reports female crash test dummies have been used in basic compliance tests for years, but not in the rating system used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Now, companies will start to use the female versions in the same capacity as the male dummies.

I guess the next step would be making the dummies out to be more like a real woman -- right now they're only about 4-feet-8 and 108 pounds. Personally, I come to about 5-2 and don't weigh that much more (really) but I still don't feel that sized person fairly represents me. Not to mention that a great many Americans have a weight problem -- particularly if they're using their cars too much.

A new system will also include an overall safety rating -- the previous system included separate ratings for roll-over, side-impact and frontal crashes.