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Control #2031904443

APR 3 1992 The Honorable Ralph Regula U.S. House of Representatives 2207 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Dear Congressman Regula: I am responding to your letter of March 18, 1992, to the Attorney General, relating your concerns about our regulatory requirements relating to the height of controls of automated teller machines (ATM's). As required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the requirements that apply to ATM's are included in guidelines developed by the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board). These guidelines are incorporated into the Department of Justice's ADA regulation. The ADA requires that our regulation be consistent with the guidelines of the Access Board; therefore, the Department is not in a position to amend this provision of its rule absent a change in the Board's guidelines. The provision in question, which applies only to new construction and alterations, requires that a person using a wheelchair be able to reach the controls of an ATM through both a forward and a side reach. This provision was first included in the Board's proposed guidelines (published in January 1991), and was subject to an extensive public comment process that included 18 public hearings. The concerns that are now being raised were not expressed during the rulemaking process. Nevertheless, we take seriously the newly stated concerns raised by the American Bankers Association. With our support and concurrence, the Access Board recently decided to reopen this issue to public comment through a notice in the Federal Register and is considering holding a

hearing on the matter. The Board will decide on further action at its July 1992 meeting. cc: Records; Chrono; Wodatch; Magagna; Bowen.


-2While changes to the rule are under consideration, the Department is constrained to enforce the requirements of the ADA regulations now in effect. In every instance, we will first attempt to educate, discuss, and negotiate, particularly in cases where use of designs and technologies other than those specified in our regulations may provide substantially equivalent or greater access to and usability of a facility. Such departures are permitted by the "equivalent facilitation" section of the accessibility guidelines. I hope this information is responsive to your inquiry. Sincerely,

John R. Dunne Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division


March 18, 1992 Attorney General William P. Barr Department of Justice Washington, D.C. 20530 Dear Mr. Attorney General: I am writing to you concerning the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Height Controversy for access to automatic teller machines (ATMs). Since enactment of ADA, a second interpretation of the height

accessibility guidelines for ATMs has arisen. The Access Board has recently stated they believe the intent of the guidelines were that ATMs should be designed and installed to allow "a forward reach range". This is contrary to my previous understanding as well as the ATM industry and the American Bankers Association. Current equipment is designed to allow a side reach to the ATM, not a forward reach. On Wednesday, March 11, the Access Board reviewed a petition from the American Bankers Association. Their decision was to place a notice in the Federal Register to release the issue for public comments. The implications of this are severe. It is most likely this will cause a freeze in the marketplace for the sale or installation of walk up ATMs (drive up ATMs are exempt). The redesign effort would take the industry up to a year to accomplish and cost over $10 million. Congress intended to ensure access to such machines by the disabled. But that access is already present through the "side reach". Requiring a major retooling of these machines just to permit a different angle of approach does not seem to be warranted given the existing access. This costs jobs to Americans and will cripple a thriving industry without any significant benefit to the disabled. Your assistance in correcting this problem is appreciated and expected. Further, I request your immediate release of a statement allowing either forward or side reach until the controversy is resolved. With best wishes, I am Sincerely, Ralph Regula, M. C.