Accessible U.S. Currency

As a fairly frequent traveler, I've had the opportunity to use a lot of different currency. Much of this currency has been thoughtfully designed to be accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities - and most especially to people with visual disabilities. Not so American currency. In fact, a 1995 National Academy of Sciences report titled "Currency Features for Visually Impaired People" noted:

An important aspect of a person's full participation in today's society is being able to conveniently and confidentially exchange currency in everyday transactions, as when using public transportation or making purchases. U.S. citizens with low vision experience a uniquely difficult task in that U.S. banknotes are remarkably uniform in size, color, and general design. The banknotes provide no basis for denominating by blind persons.

In contrast to the American situation, it should be noted that there are many things you can do to make currency accessible, and many currencies (like the Euro, the Yen, the Australian dollar) incorporate such features.

Yesterday U.S. District Judge James Robertson issues his ruling in American Council of the Blind v. Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury, holding that "the Treasury Department's failure to design and issue paper currency that is readily distinguishable to blind and visually impaired individuals violates §504 of the Rehabilitation Act." See the CNN Money article about this, as well as the ACB press release. The ruling is subject to appeal. But... perhaps with the next redesign of our currency, the U.S. will catch up with most of the rest of the world in currency accessibility.

Comments:

Post a Comment:
Comments are closed for this entry.
About

Peter Korn

Search

Archives
« July 2014
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
  
       
Today
News