Guilty until proven otherwise is now the modus operandi when it comes to hoverboards. According to a new letter from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there is no such thing as a safe hoverboard on the market today. Sorry, friends — regardless of where that lithium ion battery came from, you need to step away from your favorite new mode of transportation.
In a truly damning statement, John Drengenberg, the consumer safety director of the Underwriters Laboratories, a research group that ascertains the safety of thousands of products, says, “No hoverboard has passed the certification process at this time.” Seriously — none of them.
Following a rough few months for the futuristic devices, which have seen incidents like spontaneous combustion, college campus bans, and no-fly rules, American officials are now going a step further, asserting that no hoverboard is safe. And now, even hoverboard manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon. Leading hoverboard seller, Swagway, is now telling its customers to refrain from further use of their products until they’ve actually been proven harmless. Currently, all these boards are deemed an “imminent hazard,” and risk federal seizure or recall.
If you’re thinking that this may be a good time to sell off your gently used machine, think again. Anyone selling unlicensed hoverboards may be subjected to both civil and criminal lawsuits, the U.S. government says, so you know they’re really not messing around when it comes to these high-tech scooters.
Of course, this isn’t to say that this is the end of the road for all hoverboards everywhere. Rather, Drengenberg notes that the hoverboards are simply undergoing extensive testing to ensure that some of them actually do meet federal requirements for safety. That said, it normally takes two weeks to test a product, and the newest standards for these devices were implemented on February 2 … which is, of course, more than two weeks ago. That would suggest that, to date, all hoverboards subjected to the new tests have failed.
“One of the most common problems when a test is failed is what we call the ‘temperature test.’ That’s nothing more than operating the product under certain standard specifications and seeing how hot the various components inside gets,” says Drengenberg. “It’s one of the more common failure modes that a manufacturer might see.” And that’s a really, really problematic failure — one that looks to be keeping hoverboards off the green light list for the near future.
So in the meantime, just stick to tried and true methods of transportation.