Are Hoverboards Safe?

Many people have the “hoverboard” on their Christmas wish list this year, but recent reports show that the boards may present a very real danger to purchasers. Before buying these two-wheeled toys, shoppers should know about the recent spate of injuries caused by malfunctioning units.

Dangers of Hoverboards

In recent months, eight people have been injured by falls from hoverboards, while several others have been run over by hoverboard users. However, the most serious danger appears to be fires caused by attempting to recharge the unit’s lithium battery. One young boy plugged his board in and it immediately sparked and burst into flames. Fortunately, he was not harmed, but it is easy to see how danger exists for users and their families, particularly if the board catches fire when no one is around to see it. Another man posted a video recently showing his hoverboard catching fire while he was riding it.

Exploding Popularity of Hoverboards

Hoverboards have been exploding both figuratively and literally in the UK and Europe.

The fire issue that is just now beginning to come to the attention of authorities in the United States has already prompted the confiscation of 15,000 units in Great Britain in recent weeks. Testing shows that many of the self-balancing scooters were deemed “unsafe” from a fire hazard standpoint. Inspectors found that several of the boards they tested have non-compliant plugs without fuses. This means that there is a much greater risk of the device overheating or exploding, leading to fire and burn injuries.

Almost all hoverboards are produced in China. According to UK authorities, 88 percent of the 17,000 units they tested were confiscated due to safety issues. The UK has banned their use on public streets, as well, due to injuries to innocent bystanders from unsafe hoverboard use. Similarly, New York has issued a warning that hoverboards are not legal transportation on the city’s streets. The city has promised heavy fines to those who use them to the peril of other pedestrians.

Beware of the Risks

Hoverboards are the hot item to have under the Christmas tree this year, thanks in part to the use of these devices by celebrities such as John Legend, Kendall Jenner and Justin Bieber. Because of their integration of hoverboards into their videos, many young people and adults want one of these scooters for their own. However, the boards can also pose serious safety risks.

While the United States has not taken steps to recall boards imported from China or other locations, consumers should be aware of the risks associated with these scooters, including the risk to riders and bystanders from unsafe use and the risk of fire from overheating while charging. Experts advise that those who are riding a hoverboard wear knee pads and helmets and engage in the activity on flat, level surfaces away from traffic and pedestrians.

If you suffer injuries due to the use of a hoverboard, it is important to talk to a personal injury attorney immediately about your case.