Feds say hoverboards are unsafe, can ignite

Hoverboards are prone to catching fire and are, therefore, “unsafe,” according to the U.S. Consumer Product Commission. The agency made the declaration in a letter released Feb. 18, which urged self-balancing scooter manufacturers to gain UL certification before selling more hoverboard products in Washington and nationwide.

According to the CPSC, there were 52 reports of hoverboards igniting in 24 states between Dec. 1, 2015 and Feb. 17, 2016. The resulting fires causedmore than $2 million in property damage and led to the destruction of two houses and a car. The acting director of the agency said that most of the fires could have been avoided if the hoverboards had been constructed to meet the voluntary UL safety standards.

The CPSC letter said that if agency employees find imported hoverboards that do not meet safety standards, they may seize them. The agency also indicated that it may seek a U.S. recall of non-compliant hoverboards, which are considered to be “defective.” The letter urges hoverboard manufacturers to ensure their future products meet the electrical standards outlined in UL 2272, which is aimed at self-balancing scooters. They are also encouraged to make sure all lithium ion batteries within the hoverboards meet the requirements under UN/DOT 38.3, which addresses dangerous goods for lithium ion batteries and metal.

People who have been harmed by dangerous products may want to meet with an attorney to learn about what options they may have. In a successful products liability lawsuit, the manufacturer or the distributor of the product could be held financially responsible for the losses that have been incurred.

Source: Tech Crunch, “U.S. Government Says Hoverboards Are Verboten,” John Biggs, Feb. 19, 2016