Hoverboards may be banned at BYU-Idaho

Written by Sam Dalton, @_samdalton

Universities across the U.S. are banning self-balancing scooters, known as hoverboards, due to battery explosions, according to USA Today.

The hoverboards have been malfunctioning, causing small explosions while being ridden and while being charged, according the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“We’ve got a request that has been forwarded to the President’s Executive Group requesting that hoverboards be banned from campus,” said Garth Gunderson, the director of Safety and Security at BYU-Idaho. “We haven’t gotten anything in writing yet, but there’s not a big rush right now because most of those do not come with studded snow tires. We will be needing something in the next month here when we start getting more sunshine and drier roads and sidewalks.”

Steven Hodson, an on-site manager at Windsor Manor, said the apartments will consider putting restrictions on the scooters because of the concern about the fire hazard along with the wear and damage to the apartment complex property.

Bethanie Miller, leasing manager at the Ivy Apartments said they did not have any regulations in place, but that they would begin discussing possible action.

They are investigating incidents across the U.S. involving these scooters catching fire, according to the U.S. CPSC Website.

“CPSC engineers in our National Product Testing and Evaluation Center in Maryland have tested and will continue to test new and damaged boards in search of an answer for why some models caught fire during the charging stage and others caught fire while in use,” said Elliot F. Kaye, the U.S. CPSC Chairman, on the U.S. CPSC   Web page.

Kaye also said the expert staff of CPSC is taking a much closer look at the configuration of the batter packs and compatibility with the chargers.

Gunderson said those involved in keeping things safe do not want the scooters used in the buildings. With all the congestion in hallways, there is a big risk of running into or running over people.

“If they are used on sidewalks, they should never be driven faster than walking speed, just like any other wheeled vehicle on sidewalks,” Gunderson said.

Elliot said even though there is a fire hazard, the hazard of falls should not be overlooked.

“CPSC has received dozens of reports of injuries from hospital ERs that we have contracts with, and they continue to feed us real-time data,” Elliot said. “Some of these injuries have been serious, including concussions, fractures, contusions/abrasions and internal organ injuries.”

Since BYU-I is still in the early stages of investigating the issue, it is unclear when a decision will be made regarding the use of hoverboards.

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