The hoverboard: a dangerous fad

Kristen Davis '17

Kristen Davis '17

Among recent technological advancements, and most popular Christmas gifts this holiday season, the hoverboard has gone from an efficient form of transportation to a dangerous activity for adolescents. While this self-balancing, two-wheeled board is an enjoyable diversion, customers are disregarding the harm it can potentially cause.
The hoverboard is an alternate form of transportation in urban areas that requires minimum energy. As opposed to riding a bike or walking, commuters can now use this small motor vehicle to travel to school or work.

Kristen Davis '17
Kristen Davis ’17

The original purpose for the board has now vanished, however, as young adults and celebrities are now purchasing the board for pleasure as opposed to convenience. Over the past year, sales have unexpectedly grown among a younger audience, causing the hoverboard to become a hazard to families.
A house burned down in Louisiana November 30 when the family’s hoverboard overheated while charging and caught on fire. This incident occurred because the family bought the product via Amazon from a cheap company that used lithium batteries in its product, according to consumerist.com.
Aside from the potential harm of the product if manufactured incorrectly, the hoverboard also has a high risk of injury. 
“In the last three months individuals have reported thirty-two injuries that required emergency room attention involving hoverboards. A safety standard is needed to increase the safety of this product. We recommend wearing safety gear,” a spokeswoman for the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission said in an interview with CNN, according to money.cnn.com.
Governments, major airports, and universities have taken action in banning the use of hoverboards, which will hopefully catalyze more efforts to create a safer product.
Furthermore, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) prohibited hoverboards on streets and sidewalks November 19. This action was justified by New York State Law’s Article 14, which argued that this motor vehicle was creating too many conflicts for the city, according to nydailynews.com.
Many countries are following the NYPD’s actions. The United Kingdom made it illegal for hoverboards to be used on roads after numerous reports of injury and collisions with other pedestrians on the sidewalk, according to theguardian.com
While hoverboards seem to be the latest fad worldwide, in reality they can be a dangerous choice. Thus, there needs to be more precautions surrounding the product as it grows in popularity. Owners of this toy must be aware of  the hoverboard’s ability to overheat if bought from an unofficial company. Users must also be cautious of their surroundings while riding it, and must adhere to the rules enforced by their country or state in order to keep citizens safe. 
– Kristen Davis, Sports & Health Editor