Government to improve crash test program

July 8, 2008 8:48:56 AM PDT
The government is upgrading its crash test program for new cars and trucks to give consumers better information about vehicle safety. The program will continue to grade new vehicles on a five-star scale but it will add an overall safety rating that combines scores from several crash tests, the Bush administration announced Tuesday.

The new system, which will start in the 2010 model year, also will include new front-end tests and will simulate a vehicle striking a pole sideways. Female crash test dummies will be used to represent women and large children.

Some consumer groups have complained that most vehicles earn four or five stars in crash tests, making it difficult for car shoppers to compare vehicles.