ATM Lighting Level Requirements

ATM or Automated Teller Machine lighting regulations are part of ATM safety regulations and some states -- among them California, Texas, Florida and New York -- have enacted their own laws that set minimum standards for lighting. The regulations in California are particularly strict and have been adopted by many financial institutions for ATM lighting in all states.

California ATM Lighting Regulations

In California, all ATMs operating during darkness hours -- from half an hour after sunset until half an hour before sunrise -- must be adequately lit. There are specific regulations that describe illumination levels that must be present at varying distances from the ATM; all ATMs must, by law, have a minimum intensity of light that can be seen at a distance of 5 feet in all directions and a lower minimum intensity that can be seen at a distance of 50 feet in all directions and from any designated parking areas. The California regulations extend to the landscape and vegetation around the ATM site, which must not compromise the safety of ATM users by obstructing visibility or creating areas in which potential muggers can lie in wait. The incidence of crime in the area surrounding each ATM is reviewed periodically and its lighting may be adjusted as a result.

New York ATM Lighting Regulations

In New York, the ATM Safety Act requires a minimum illumination of 10 candlefeet -- a candlefoot is a unit of illumination equal to one lumen per square foot, or 10.8 lux -- at a radius of 5 feet, and 2 candlefeet at a radius of 50 feet from an ATM machine. In addition, the act requires using surveillance cameras and locked vestibule doors that can only be opened with an ATM card.

Compliance and Penalties

The precise details of ATM lighting regulations vary from state to state, but some states require annual certification of compliance for each ATM and will impose fines on operators who violate them. By the same token, ATM operators who do comply with the regulations may be protected, by statute, for civil compensation claims. Some ATM lighting regulations apply, retrospectively, to all ATMs, while others apply just to ATMs installed after the regulations were enacted.

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