Federal safety regulators put hoverboard manufacturers, importers, and retailers on notice Thursday, warning them that the self-balancing scooters must meet U.S. standards for electrical systems and lithium ion batteries or face recall or seizure at ports.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) notified hoverboard manufacturers that their products “pose an unreasonable risk of fire” if they don’t meet voluntary UL and UN/DOT safety standards.
No hoverboards being sold in the U.S. at this time meet those safety standards, the Commission said, thus deeming the popular scooters unsafe.
“Consumers risk serious injury or death if their self-balancing scooters ignite and burn,” the CPSC said in its Feb. 8 letter to manufacturers, noting the reports of injury and property damages it has received since the beginning of December.
From Dec. 1, 2015, through Feb. 17, 2016, the CPSC received reports from consumers in 24 states of 52 hoverboard fires resulting in more than $2 million in property damage, including the complete destruction of two homes and one automobile,
“We believe that many of the reported incidents, and the related unreasonable risk of injuries and deaths associated with fires in these products, would be prevented if all such products were manufactured in compliance with the referenced voluntary safety standards,” the CPSC said in its letter.
All of the hoverboards currently sold in the U.S. are made in China. CPSC Chairman Elliot Kaye said that the CPSC isn’t aware of a safe hoverboard brand or model in the U.S. today. “…That’s why we want everybody to stop sale, test their units, see if they do or not, and if they do continue selling it, if they don’t, don’t sell them anymore and recall any of them that are on the market.”
The U.S. reminded manuacturers and others involved in the sale and distribution of hoverboards that they could be subject to civil and criminal penalties if they fail to notify regulators of product defects.