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The Honorable Dianne Feinstein

United States Senate

331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Feinstein:

This is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your

constituent, XX , who is seeking information on the
accessibility requirements for Automated Teller Machines (ATM)
under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

XX indicated that, when using a new, accessible ATM

at the Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco, he experienced great
difficulty in that he hit his head and hurt his back. He further
stated that, because the ATM was accessible to persons with
disabilities, it was inaccessible to him.

Following a public comment period during which hundreds of

individuals participated, the Department issued and adopted the
ADA Standards for Accessible Design, the yardstick against which
minimum accessibility is measured. As such, the Standards are
based on a variety of individual reach ranges, heights, and
functional levels and are a composite of the needs of the
estimated 49 million persons with disabilities in the United
States. Because people are so diverse, the Standards do not
purport to meet the specific needs of every individual, with or
without a disability. Generally speaking, the maximum height
requirements specified in the ADA Standards (48 inches or 54
inches) will allow the vast majority of persons with disabilities
to use an ATM, many perhaps for the first time. The Standards
also permit most people without disabilities to continue to use
an ATM.

The Standards also accommodate people who have less obvious

disabilities such as difficulty stooping or bending. In doing
so, the Standards promote a universal design approach which


addresses the needs of most people. For example, at locations

where there are two or more ATM machines, only one must meet the
accessibility requirements of the Standards for Accessible
Design, thereby giving every consumer the choice of using
whichever machine works best for him or her. It is exactly the
concern expressed by XX that was a driving force in the
creation of the Standards for Accessible Design and for
implementing a universal design approach. The Department
believes that the ADA Standards for Accessible Design provide
equal opportunity for people with disabilities without denying
access for persons without disabilities.

I hope this information is useful in responding to your



Deval L. Patrick
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

Senator Diane Feinstein May 17, 1994
Room 331
Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0501

Dear Senator Feinstein,

Encolsed is a copy of a letter that I have sent to Wells Fargo Bank

concerning their compliance to federal laws concerning handicapped
accessibility of ATM's.

Why are special interest groups accomodated at the expense of the

vast majority of others? I agree that some needs have to be worked
into the design of things, but when it causes severe discomfort and
possible medical expenses to others, perhaps the solution is
similar to that done to adapt vehicles for paraplegic use of motor
vehicles. Who pays for that modification? The end user, that's
who. Why should the general public pay for the inconvenience of
stooping to use a machine and risk head injuries at the same time
when the number and percentage of people targeted to benefit is
We need to bring sanity back to our legislation and consider the
negative impacts to all involved. On the surface, I would vote for
the handicapped accessible act, but after suffering the impact in
this case I feel we should be realistic and not go overboard in the
implementation and forcing unneeded requirements on everybody just
to accomodate a few.


Orange, CA XX


Wells Fargo Bank May 17, 1994

P.O. Box 63107
San Francisco, CA 94163

Attn: Mr. Michael Sczuka:

Dear Mr. Sczuka,

I have just used your new handicapped accessible ATM's and would
like to express my extreme displeasure with the machine. I
inserted my card to activate the system and hit my forehead on the
corner of the top frame causing a small abrasion on my scalp.
Then, having to bend over to read the messages on the screen to do
my transactions, my back became sore due to the excessive bending
required just to operate the ATM. I am 6'-2" and do not consider
myself to be extremely tall, just above average height.

I realize that you are probably just following government mandates

for compliance to special interest groups, but why have the vast
majority of people be inconvienced just to accomodate a few?

Is there anything that can be done to make the ATM's more useful to
the average person to reduce the chances of chiropractic services
being required? Maybe provide milk stools to take the strain off
people's backs.


Orange, CA XX