If you stop to think about it, you may scratch your head when you pull up to a drive-thru ATM for the first time and see braille lettering dots. Those with severe vision impairments don’t typically drive, so this addition might seem unnecessary to some. So why do drive-thru ATMS have braille?
Well, federal regulations require that every ATM in the United States must have braille lettering on keypads and signage. Here’s why.
Why Do Drive-Thru ATMs Have Braille?
Americans with Disabilities Act
Major strides were made for the rights of citizens with disabilities in 1990, when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) came into force. This civil rights law prohibits discrimination based on disability in several areas, including employment, transportation, communications, and access to government programs and services.
The ADA also requires that reasonable public accommodations be made for disabled people. In order to be compliant with the federal government, all ATMs need to have the capability to be operated independently by a disabled user.
This ruling was initially met with protests by the American Bankers Association. The group of bankers argued that any visually-impaired person would be able to ask their driver for assistance with their transaction. However, these claims were quickly rejected.
Relying on the assistance of another passenger or driver would mean that the disabled individual would no longer be able to use the ATM independently. It would also require trusting another person with personal financial information such as their credit card number, PIN, and account funds.
Despite what some might expect, it’s actually common for blind passengers to use drive-up ATMs. The passenger simply sits in the backseat behind the driver, who only needs to pull up slightly forward in order to allow the person to use the ATM independently. The same can be said for those who use transportation services like taxis and Uber to run errands, and would prefer not entrusting their finances to a stranger.
It’s also much more cost-efficient for ATM producers to offer braille dots on all of their machines. By creating the same standard model, these companies are able to eliminate a major inventory and logistics issue.
Instead of storing two different models in their inventory – one for walk-up patrons and one for drivers – they can easily install the same machinery in most locations. It also eases logistics, since it takes the guesswork out of knowing which model to ship to each destination.
Since the ADA was introduced, major strides have been made to protect the rights of disabled Americans. With advancements like audible systems and improved signage, visually-impaired people are better able to complete everyday errands like withdrawing cash or depositing a paycheck.