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New Safety Guidelines for Hoverboards

Feb 25, 2016

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning to hoverboard manufacturers, importers and retailers that new safety standards must be met or they may risk recall or seizure of the devices at ports.

"Consumers risk serious injury or death if their self-balancing scooters ignite and burn," the agency said in an official letter with a new set of safety guidelines, NBC News reports.

No hoverboard currently on the market is considered safe, according to CPSC Chairman Elliot Kay. The scooters are not being officially banned, but the notice sets new safety standards that could bring serious penalties to manufacturers, retailers and importers. These include fines, civil and/or criminal legal action, and seizure of products. According to NBC News, the warning may lead to a widespread hoverboard recall.

In the fall of 2015, a number of United Kingdom (UK) retailers recalled hoverboards from multiple manufacturers citing defective plugs, cabling, chargers, batteries, or the cut-off switches within the boards. The cut-off switches are designed to stop the battery from charging once fully charged. A faulty cut-off switch can overheat, leading to an explosion or fire, the UK National Trading Standards agency said.

As a precautionary measure, some airlines have banned hoverboards on airplanes, either as carry on or checked luggage. Hoverboards were one of the most sought-after holiday gift items of 2016, but have been plagued with serious safety issues. The CPSC received various reports between December 1, 2015 and February 17, 2016 that hoverboards were the cause for 52 fires in 24 states with $2 million in property damage including the destruction of 2 homes and a car, NBC News reports.

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