Hoverboards temporarily banned on campus

Due to several reports of accidents and explosions, the popular Christmas toy has been banned until further notice

AU has placed a temporary ban on hoverboards on university property which went into effect on Jan. 4. 

Other colleges in the area, including George Washington University, have already placed similar bans on the boards, commonly known as self-balancing scooters, due to safety concerns.

“This action is being taken as part of the university’s efforts to maintain a safe campus through a comprehensive fire prevention program,”  Executive Director of Risk, Safety and Transportation Programs Dan Nichols stated in a Jan. 4 email to the AU community. “Several agencies are investigating fires and injuries related to these devices.”

There are two primary concerns with hoverboards. The first is the risk of falling. As of Dec. 28, 2015, there were 70 reports of emergency room visits due to hoverboards, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. A majority of these are from falling and collisions.

However, the second and more noteworthy concern is that hoverboards have the ability to self-combust. The federal government is now investigating more than 20 instances of hoverboards engulfing in flames and even have the ability to destroy homes.

According to Jay Whitacre, a professor of materials, science and engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in an article from Wired.com, the boards explode due to the cheaply-made lithium-ion batteries that are unable to handle the use of the device. The cheaper the hoverboard is, the weaker the battery will be, resulting in increased risk of explosion.

U.S.Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Elliot Kaye released a statement on Dec. 16 concerning the safety of hoverboards. Kaye recommends to avoid purchasing the product from a website that does not identify seller or who to contact if there is an issue. He also suggests watching the hoverboard charge as opposed to charging it overnight and letting the device cool off before charging it again. The full report can be found here.

Once the CPSC finishes its review, AU will revisit the status of this temporary ban in consultation with the Office of the Campus Life and Housing and Dining Programs, Nichols said.

asternlicht@theeagleonline.com

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