Safety First

More stories from Alec Hinch

Myth and Method
May 13, 2016
Monkey in the Middle
April 15, 2016
Think before you drink
February 4, 2016

   Self balancing riding boards also called “hover boards” are the new trend spreading through the world among the young, old and anything in between.

    Although while these “hover boards” may appear as a fun and harmless toy, they continue to pose a serious risk to the people who purchase them and the public.

   These hover boards continue to pose a serious and dangerous fire safety risk due to counterfeit parts, in particular the lithium ion batteries, used in the construction of the hover boards on the less expensive end of the price spectrum which ranges from $250-$1600.

    While there are no current regulations on the manufacturing of self balancing boards, many of them are being removed from the market due to the use of counterfeit parts with fake branding on them.

    According to Fox News, the United States government seized about 300 fake hover boards at least recently in the port of Miami. The cause? Fake batteries used in the manufacturing with LG trademarked branding on them.

   Even though the lack of manufacturing regulations for these boards continue to pose a safety risk, there are precautions set in place for counterfeit products. The boards seized in Miami contained fake LG batteries which violates many laws including but not limited the Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984 which states it is a federal offense by the international use of a counterfeit trademark.

    The violation of this law subjects the accused to up to five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine. For corporations in violation of this law there is a possible $1,000,000.00 fine.

   But many have no worry about the risk of using one of these boards.

     Sophomore, Ashley Dabdub, does not own a hoverboard herself, but she stated that “if used properly I think they [hoverboards] are safe.” And she is not alone.

    Some manufacturers blame recent fires on the improper charging of the batteries. Most assume it is safe to charge a hoverboard overnight but they are wrong. Many of these boards come with a safety notice that warns specifically not to leave them charging over night as it can cause overcharging which leads to the battery catching fire.

    These notices are often followed with charging directions to be around and attentive of the hoverboard while it is charging. If the consumer does not follow these directions and their product has a malfunction in relation to overcharging the consumer is then at fault and not the manufacturer as they were warned and given notice on how to charge the hoverboard.

  Although many say that manufacturers who sell fake hoverboards with counterfeit and untested parts should be prosecuted.

    “People should be responsible for their actions” said Dabdub.

   When purchasing a hover board there should be research on which one to buy. Reading customer reviews and researching the manufacturer can all be the difference between a disaster or a good time.