Wednesday, May 21, 2008

U.S. money may become accessible to blind people

A federal appeals court ruled on May 19 that the United States discriminates against blind and visually impaired people with its paper currency that is all the same, The New York Times reported.

The 2-to-1 decision from the U. S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that the Treasury Department did not demonstrate that it would be too burdensome to create paper money in which each value amount could be of different sizes or have added features so they could be read by touch.

A lawyer for the American Council of the Blind, which brought the lawsuit in 2002, said he hoped that the government, “instead of litigating the issue, would solve the problem.” The Treasury Department has the means and technology to change the design of American currency to help the blind, said the lawyer, Jeffrey A. Lovitky of Washington. “It’s just a question of willingness.”

The appeals court didn't tell the Treasury what kind of money to create, but it pointed to examples from other countries that use different shapes, sizes, colors and tactile features to denote denominations.