Although high strength low alloy steels offer the potential for lightweight design, their application is often rather limited due to existing design rules. A further development of these standards requires precise prediction of realistic limit states. The damage model of Bai and Wierzbicki has been extended in order to improve the description of the ductile failure behaviour of steels, especially when crack initiation in dynamic loading is to be simulated. Application examples of the extended model are given in order to show that it can be used for limit state analysis. An outlook presents the application of the model to derive improved safety factors for probabilistic safety concepts.