ELR-058 Alternative Account of the Pinto Case: 2 PDH

ELR-058 Alternative Account of Pinto Case

Description of the Alternative Account of the Pinto Case

The Alternative Account of the Pinto Case online PDH course is a part of the Ethics, Laws and Rules category of courses.

The Ford Pinto case is considered a classic example of corporate wrong-doing and is a mainstay of courses in engineering ethics, business ethics, philosophy, and the sociology of white-collar crime.  The conventional account of the case holds that Ford engineers made a serious design error in locating the fuel tank behind the rear axle, leaving the Pinto vulnerable to disastrous fires in rear-end collisions.  As crash-test and field data began to accumulate and reveal the danger, management made a deliberate decision not to modify the design, because doing so would harm corporate profits.  Ford’s decision was based on a cost-benefit analysis which balanced human lives against corporate profits.

In this course, the factual basis of the conventional account is examined and misconceptions held by the public are identified.  Questions about the placement and design of the fuel tank are addressed.  Data available in public records but rarely discussed by Pinto critics are presented showing that Pinto accident-fatality rates were slightly better than the average for automobiles of comparable size.  The discussion is then rounded out by comments on various other criticisms that have been leveled at the Pinto, and an alternative account of the Pinto case is formulated which differs significantly from the conventional account.

This course is intended for all construction professionals concerned with ethical decision-making in making design trade-offs involving the safety of the public.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Define the role of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in automobile design
  • Describe the historical and legal development of crashworthiness as a requirement for engineering design
  • Describe the complexity of design considerations in locating the fuel tank
  • Define risk as probability and severity of harm
  • State the definition safety as acceptable risk
  • State the necessity of trade-offs between cost and risk
  • Compare fatality rates for subcompacts of the Pinto era
  • Describe the need for and use of cost-benefit analysis

Refunds and Cancellation Policies

The course is accepted by the Professional Engineering boards in states listed on this page. In an unlikely case the course is not accepted by the board listed on this page, we will refund the full payment and will pay for you to take another course of equivalent monetary and PDH / CEU value. For complete list of courses related to Ethics, Laws and Rules category of courses please click here.

Length of the Course / Activity

This course is intended to be studied at self-pace and it should take on average of 2 hour to read and be able to comprehend the material to successfully past the online quiz

Course Quiz

To receive the certificate of completion for the above 2 PDH online course, you will need to take a 10 question multiple choice quiz based on the reference material supplied and pass with minimum score of 70%. There is no time limit for the quiz and it can be taken multiple times until a passing score of 70% is achieved

Certificate of Completion

Once you achieve a passing score of 70% on the quiz you will receive and be able to print your Certificate of Completion as a record of your continuing education. PDH Star will keep a record of your certificate for the duration as required by your state of licensure. You will be able to log on to your account and view and print your past Certificate of Completion

State Acceptance

This course is accepted in all states mandating continuing education:

AK, AL, AR, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV, and WY

For detailed state by state requirements click here.

Need help?

Do you need help choosing the right course or package for you? Please give us a call or send us an email and we will be happy to provide guidance on which courses are most relevant for you and create a customary course package



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