Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Will U.S. Currency Be Accessible For The Blind In The Future?

Bureau of Engraving and Printing Seeks Comment on Making Currency Accessible

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing seeks public comment on efforts to make U.S. currency accessible to people with vision impairments. In a notice published in the Federal Registery on May 20, the Bureau outlined potential actions to be undertaken and posed specific questions to the public. The Bureau is proposing to add a raised tactile feature to indicate currency denomination and to improve visual access through larger numbers, higher contrast, and more distinct color schemes. In addition, the agency is also considering a supplemental program to provide currency readers free to those who need them and to explore emerging technological solutions to further improve accessibility. These actions are based on a study of the issue previously commissioned by the Bureau and stem from a ruling in a court case filed by the American Council of the Blind.

The notice specifically seeks public input on criteria for tactile and visual features, including the type and location of tactile features, the size and contrast of the numerals, impacts on cash handling industries and equipment, the currency reader program, and other topics. The notice, which includes instructions on submitting comment, is available through the online edition of the Federal Registery at Comments are due by August 18. For further information, contact Ellen Gano of the Bureau at (202) 874-1200.

Note from Guide Dog Ambassador: Don't imagine that your comment may be little or nonsense. All comments, ideas, suggestions and even examples about other currencies will go a long way toward finding the ideal way to produce accessible currency!

We like to believe that "Individually, we can make a difference. Together, we can make a change".