Trials & Litigation

Settlement: More ATMs to Talk to Blind

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A settlement has been announced in litigation brought by the National Federation of the Blind to make it easier for persons with limited vision to use automated teller machines.

Under an agreement announced Wednesday, the nation’s biggest non-bank ATM provider, Cardtronics Inc., will have half of its approximately 29,000 machines equipped with voice technology by 2010, the Baltimore Sun reports. Those who wish to use the technology must plug headphones into a jack in an ATM.

Although keys on ATM machine touchpads today are routinely marked in braille, a raised-dot system of writing that blind persons can “read” by feeling them with their fingertips, it is still very difficult to use ATMs without more information, the organization contends. “The ATM is the most common way for members of the sighted public to conduct financial transactions,” says Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, in a statement. “To be full participants in modern society, blind people must have access to these devices.”

The federation is also seeking to enhance the accessibility of home appliances and Internet Web sites to those with limited vision.

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