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Deadly Accident Could Lead To Safety Changes At ATMs

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The state is looking at ways to improve safety at automated teller machines, but the proposed changes are almost three years too late for one family.

In September 2000, witnesses watched in disbelief as 23-month-old Magdalene Horoszewicz died when a car hit her while her father was using the ATM machine at the State Farmers Market.

Three years later, the State Farmers Market still has an ATM, but it is a lot different. The ATM is no longer in the parking lot. The owner has since moved it away from traffic. The machine is also turned so that people can see the parking lot, and concrete posts were installed to stop a wayward car.

Toynia Gibbs had not heard about the accident until today, but she remembers the cash machine.

"Before you were in a huddle, but a lot of ATMs are like that," she said.

Magadelene's father, who was seriously injured in the accident, wants North Carolina lawmakers to make sure all money machines are safer to use. Earlier this year, he asked Sen. Eric Reeves, D-Wake, to sponsor the bill.

"How many more examples do we need? One example in this situation is probably enough," Reeves said.

Reeves' bill would require banks and credit unions to make cash machines safe, but it leaves specific improvements up to industry experts. The cost of upgrades could be passed to customers, but Gibbs said she is willing to pay for safety.

"I'm a mother of two small children. To me, it'd be worth it," she said.

Reeves' bill is currently in a House committee.


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