BANS IN GEORGIA
Hoverboards, also known as Smart Boards, Self-Balancing Boards and Swagways, were a hot item this past holiday season. Unfortunately, due to safety concerns, colleges and universities in Macon and surrounding counties have restricted their use on campuses, or banned them altogether. In addition, 60 airlines, including Delta, the largest airline at Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport, have banned them from being carried on flights or checked in as baggage.
There are two main safety concerns with hoverboards: 1) the risk of falling; and 2) the risk of fire.
Obviously, anytime you’re riding a motorized device there’s a risk of falling. The Hoverboard, however, could pose a greater risk since there are no safety standards in place for the device. A lack of safety standards can result in a poorly designed or poorly manufactured product, which, in turn, can mean an unsafe product that leads to an increased number of falls and injury. One specific concern the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has is that the hoverboards sometimes lurch forward or speed up unexpectedly, thereby causing a person to lose their balance and fall. This could possibly be due to a poorly designed product that doesn’t properly consider the weight of individuals. Hoverboard injuries seen in emergency rooms include fractures, concussions, contusions, head & brain injuries and internal organ injuries.
HOVERBOARD FIRE HAZARD
Another serious risk is that of fire. There have been dozens of instances of hoverboards catching on fire, mostly while being charged. It is suspected that the powerful lithium-ion batteries, which have been known to combust (see my blog about e-cigarettes) is the cause of such fires. Two such instances here in Georgia include a home in Augusta that was damaged when a hoverboard being charged in the garage caught fire, and a room at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta that burned when a charging hoverboard caught fire.
There are certain safety precautions that should be followed if you own a hoverboard, or are thinking of buying one:
- Do not overcharge the device
- Do not charge it in the house or when unsupervised
- Keep a fire extinguisher nearby
- Keep it away from and do not charge near combustible materials
- Make sure the device is completely cool before charging
- Wear protective gear while riding – helmets and pads
- Don’t ride near roads or stairs
- Only buy the product from known, reputable companies
The safety concern for these devices is so great that Amazon has offered a full refund to anyone who purchased a hoverboard from their website. You may begin the steps to return the device at amazon.com/contact-us/.
Our firm has over a decade of experience helping people recover from injuries caused by defective products. If you’ve been injured while riding a Hoverboard, or from one that caught fire, it could be due to a problem with the device itself. Call our office for a free case review to see if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.