NHTSA makes a move to introduce the advanced THOR-50M ATD in CFR 49 Part 572 Safety Regulations

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has taken a significant step towards enhancing vehicle safety standards with the long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to make the most advanced anthropomorphic test devices available for use in regulated and voluntary 5-Star Safety Tests.

The proposed amendment aims to incorporate theTHOR-50M Comparison advanced Test Device for Human Occupant Restraint (THOR) 50th percentile adult male (THOR-50M) into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 49 Part 572, as a precursor to it being used in regulated crash tests: “NHTSA anticipates issuing a proposal in the near future to amend FMVSS No. 208 to specify the THOR-50M as an alternative (at the vehicle manufacturer’s option) to the HIII-50M test dummy for use in frontal crash compliance tests.” NHTSA states there would be other benefits as well. beyond FMVSS compliance testing “such as NCAP testing, standards and regulations in other transportation modes, and research.”

"The inclusion of THOR-50M in U.S. safety regulations represents a significant milestone in NHTSA’s ongoing efforts to reduce injuries and save lives on America’s roads," said Humanetics President and CEO, Christopher O’Connor. "By utilizing more accurate and sophisticated test devices like THOR-50M, we can gain deeper insights into the real-world performance of safety systems, which will drive innovations that ultimately benefit all road users."

Equally as significant, however, was the confirmation from NHTSA within the NPRM that “NHTSA anticipates completing the research and testing necessary to support a rulemaking for the THOR-5F in 2023.” This is the advanced female device that would represent the first regulated female device built around the unique female physiology, rather than being adapted from the larger male device.

The inclusion of THOR-50M in U.S. safety regulations represents a significant milestone in NHTSA’s ongoing efforts to reduce injuries and save lives on America’s roads.

-Humanetics President and CEO, Christopher O’Connor

THOR-50M BioRank

Christopher O’Connor continued, “We are particularly excited to see that Acting Administrator Ann Carlson called out the intention to do a similar NPRM for THOR-5F within 2023. If the advanced female is introduced and mandated as a device in NCAP driver’s seat tests, then we have a generational opportunity to ensure equal safety for all occupants long into the future.”

NHTSA has been at the forefront of improving automotive safety,  developing and refining crash test dummies since the 1970s and 1980s when the last update to the regulated crash test dummy was made. The THOR-50M started its development over 20 years ago. The latest iteration of these life-saving devices is designed to provide even more accurate data to help engineers and researchers better understand the impact of vehicle accidents on human occupants.

NHTSA concludes in the NPRM that “the THOR-50M is sufficiently biofidelic, exhibits repeatable and reproducible performance, and is sufficiently durable. As such, we believe that it would be suitable for use in regulatory compliance testing and is therefore suitable for incorporation into Part 572.” This reflects the agency’s belief that this advanced ATD will play a crucial role in evaluating the effectiveness of restraint systems, airbags, and other safety features in modern vehicles.


NHTSA's proposed amendment is viewed as a major stride in enhancing road safety for all. By improving the evaluation of modern vehicle restraint systems and tackling ongoing injury trends, the THOR-50M's design contributes to the ongoing enhancement of crash test methods, aligning closely with the agency's mission to decrease accident rates and reduce injury severity during collisions.

Read the THOR-50M NPRM for inclusion into CFR 49 Part 572

View the docket Docket (NHTSA-2023-0031) 

Learn how newer advanced crash test dummies can help Raise The Bar For Injury Prevention.



Mark Brown

Mark is the Product Marketing Manager at Humanetics Safety and works closely with Engineering and Sales to develop and refine content that is both useful and informative for our industry. With over two decades of experience in crash test dummy product Quality, Technical, Sales, and Marketing, Mark produces a wide range of media and publications including our service bulletins, webinars, editorial articles, and contributes to our marketing collateral.