Words by: Sierra Holmes
By now, just about everyone should know the term “hover board.” If you have been living under a rock, it’s that two-wheeled, self-balancing electric board that all of the youngsters are riding around.
This new transportation craze was on all of the kids’ holiday wish lists but just weeks later they are being pulled from shelves and banned around the country.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission received 70 reports of emergency room-treated injuries involving hover boards including fractures, sprains, abrasions, concussions and lacerations caused by falls and collisions, just days after Christmas. According to injury reports from across the country, that number is growing nearly every day.
Jo Teague, retailer of Extreme Mojo boards says that if a rider falls off of the board it is ultimately their fault and he has not received any complaints about injuries. “It is safer than riding a bike,” Teague said.
Falling off the board isn’t the only safety hazard. They are also known to burst into flames. A charging hover board is believed to have caused a fire that swept through a home in California, killing two dogs and causing an estimated $250,000 in damage.
This California fire marked the 40th time across some 19 states that hover boards have triggered fires in the past year.
Amazon snatched hover boards from their virtual shelves and now is offering refunds for the exploded boards. All major airlines have also discontinued the usage of hover boards because of the risk.
“You get what you pay for. Don’t get a generic board, purchase a quality one.” Teague said, “The people that complain about the safety and hazards of the boards are people who have never rode a board or people that have no interest in purchasing a device.”
Colleges have also acknowledged the safety hazard of the boards and are beginning to prohibit them from campuses across the United States. Nearly 100 colleges and universities are implementing campus or partial-campus bans on the devices.
Butler University, University of Evansville and University of Southern Indiana have all completely banished hover boards from their campuses. Purdue University, Indiana University and Ball State University have banned the boards from residence halls.
“They are posing as a significant safety threat,” said Alan Hargrave, Director of Housing and Residence Life at Ball State University.
Indiana University junior, Trinia McGinty explains her thoughts on the recent banishings,
“I live on campus and don’t have a car. I used to use my hover board daily. It’s a lot faster than walking to class. Instead of leaving 20 minutes before class starts, I could leave ten minutes early. It’s different now that they banned the boards. I understand the safety hazard, but they are expensive and honestly, pretty convenient. I’m not going to stop using mine off campus. I follow the safety guidelines; I mean, what are the odds?”
Teague says despite the recent prohibitions, his board sales have remained stable.