Amtrack Case Study

Category: Case Study, Safety, Welfare
Last Updated: 07 Dec 2022
Essay type: Case Study
Pages: 4 Views: 103

In the given Amtrack case study provided, which involved a train in an accident that caused forty seven deaths can  be perceived as an ethical issue that is based on whom to blame on some situation which arise and uncertain.

The ethical issue lie on who to blame among the main stakeholders, where the main stakeholders in this situation include the engineers, the national transportation safety board, conductor and assistant conductor CSX Transportation Inc and also WGN company.

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The main decision makers in the case include the media, the United States government and also the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Amrack company had a cooperate social responsibility of ensuring that it promoted the social welfare of the community in which its operated a part from the benefits that it got from its operations.

The company had a cooperate responsibility of following the legal procedures which are set by the relevant authorities in ensuring improved social welfare of the community (Loudon, 1986).

For example the company was expected to adhere to the measures which were set by National Transportation Safety Board in improving the passengers safety when on board, but the company otherwise decided not to follow the rules by not  equipping the train with the sensor which was meant to detect the bridge damages.

The company may have also perceived the equipping of the train with the sensor as a cost which was meant to make them loose economically, therefore decided to do without the device at the expense of endangering the passengers lives.

The company also has a cooperate social responsibility in protecting the human lives on board, which it traded by not fixing the sensor to the train implying that they valued money more than human lives.

Philanthropy is another social cooperate responsibility that involves the donating an aid to a charitable cause in improving the welfare of the community that a company is operating in, and this should depend on the wealth level of the donating company.

Law provides a basis for an ethical decision on the legal, economic, ethical and philanthropic issues of cooperate social responsibility. Law provide that the companies should adhere to the set standards of operating which are intended to improve the welfare of the community and this include the rules for the protection of humanity and the environment.

The companies are expected to observe some safety measure during their operation to ensure that the participates in their operation, both the workers and the users of their products are safe.

The law also provide that companies are expected to instill the safety measures despite the cost of implementing the safety measures. Companies are likely to avoid taking some safety measures because of the costs involved in the implementation, therefore law is meant to ensure that the safety measures are in place.

Companies are certain to value profits more than the human lives therefore posing an ethical problem (Bentham, 2007). Law is needed in protecting humanity because it will ensure that companies are protecting humanity despite their much interest in profit maximization.

Most cooperation are profit maximizing and for that reason they do not like spending in charitable activities toward the improvement of the community welfare as a cooperate social responsibility, otherwise they perceive the donations as a waste of resources.

This situation call for the act of law to ensure that the companies provide for charitable activities aimed at improving the welfare of the community in which they operate in so as so make their operations reflective of the society in which they operate in (Hess and Bales, 2007).

Law is therefore meant to make them contribute to charitable activities in proportion to the companies' wealth, hence the promotion of philanthropy.

Conclusion and Recommendations.

From the Amtrack case study, the main ethical issue is the conflicting interests in society which gave an opportunity for the occurrence of the accident. The Amtrack company is concern with lowering its operating costs at the expense of human safety who use the company train. The National transport safety board is also concerned with the safety of the passengers.

Due to the conflicting interests in the society as portrayed in the case, there occurs the need for having set rules which are meant to cater for the interests of all persons in society.

The rules which are part of the country of the country's law should be set in a manner in which all the parties' interest are considered and judgement made on  the basis of mutual benefits.

The positive implication of the recommendation is that order will be restored in society as everybody will be expected to behave in a manner in which is expected to promote the general good of everybody. The negative implication of the recommendation is that some entities in societies will feel restrained in achieved their interest at the expense of the other entities' welfare.

The possible criticism over the recommendation is that, it is difficult to exactly draws a balance over interests because the interest of individuals' are varied thus a unattainable.

The best possible way to address the criticism is to make a judgement based on the premise that one is expected to behave in manner in which he  or she  may expect to be treated when in a situation like that of his or her neighbor in promoting the general happiness.


Bentham J., 2007, An Introduction to the Principals of Moral and Legislation, Dover Pubns, pp 14 Loudon M., 1986,  Philanthropic Economy, E. Churton, pp 13 Hess A. and Bales J., 2007, Design Professional and Constarctive Manager Law, American Bar            Association, pp 28


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Amtrack Case Study. (2016, Jun 11). Retrieved from

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