By Barry Rooth
Many young people have gone back to college carrying their new hoverboards only to find out their new mode of transportation has been banned. IU and Purdue have banned hoverboards from residence halls. Butler University and the University of Evansville have banned them altogether from their campuses. Many other colleges from coast-to-coast have done the same.
Patty Davis, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, told CNN that “We consider this a priority investigation. This was a popular holiday item and it’s going to be in a lot of consumers’ homes, and we’d like to quickly get to the bottom of why some hoverboards catch fire,” she said.
There have been an increasing number of reports over many months that certain models can burst into flames as result of malfunctioning batteries and plugs.
Burned hoverboard. Photo Credit: Consumer Product Safety
There is now a great concern that the use of the boards in public places such as dorms could cause a fire hazard that might result in tragic circumstances should the blaze happen at night while dozens of students are sleeping.
Some airlines also now prohibit passengers from bringing them on board. By the end of 2015, Amazon.com had halted the sale of almost every model of hoverboards.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has counted 22 hoverboard fires in 17 states, according to an agency spokeswoman. One fire occurred at a kiosk at a Houston-area mall, temporarily closing the shopping center. CPSC agents are actively investigating fires caused by the boards.
In recent weeks, a hoverboard reportedly exploded in a South Carolina home. Two teens at the home received hoverboards for Christmas. One teen had just finished charging his board when the batteries combusted and flew about 20 feet across the living room, lighting a chair on fire.
There have also been dangerous falls by hoverboard riders with many requiring trips to the ER.
Suddenly, the hoverboard is becoming a topic for lawsuits. Swagway, one of the largest manufactures of hoverboards, has so far not made any official comment on these suits.
Burned hoverboard. Photo Credit: Consumer Product Safety Commission
Doctors say hoverboard riders should wear the same gear and take the same precautions as rollerbladers or skateboarders. According to the CPSC, some of the injuries have been serious, including concussions, fractures, contusions/abrasions, and internal organ injuries.
In a statement issued last month on the safety of hoverboards, CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye voiced his concern that there were no current safety standards in place for the recreational device.
If you have a concern about an accident involving a hoverboard and you believe it was the fault of the seller or manufacturer, contact us at Theodoros & Rooth. Our lawyers have generations of experience investigating liability cases involving products of all types. Our initial consultation is always free.