In his welcome back email on the first day of classes for the spring semester, University President Bob Frank announced that, due to widespread safety concerns, the University of New Mexico is placing an interim ban on the use, possession and storage of hoverboards on all UNM campuses.
This temporary ban is in place until the University can assess and research the safety of the self-balancing scooters, informally known as “hoverboards”, and develop a long-term policy, Frank said.
Hoverboards hit the market in October last year and have quickly become a popular trend and means of transportation for teens and young adults. A recent article published by USA Today states that The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has investigated 40 incidents since the product’s debut involving explosions and fires due to the flammability of the lithium-ion batteries used to power the popular devices.
“I think research on the safety of these devices needs to be explored and safety precautions examined,” Dean of Students Jenna Crabb said. “If they are catching fire, and hurting individuals, it would not be worth it to me to take a chance with this device. I want more safety standards met before this new technology of transportation continues.”
CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye commended colleges, universities and other institutions and organizations for prohibiting the use of hoverboards on campus in a statement on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and assured the leaders of these institutions that they are working as quickly as possible to provide more answers.
“We will be watching closely what safety regulations and restrictions come out on these transportation devices, before we decide to either lift the ban, modify the ban or keep the ban in place,” said Rob Burford, the head of the University’s safety committee.
UNM is just one of many to question or restrict the popular product. Even Amazon is offering full refunds for customers who bought hoverboards from their website. Other companies are encouraged by CPSC to follow in their footsteps.
“Safety has always been a top priority for our students,” Crabb said. “UNM will always put students’ safety first. We would never want any technological advances to harm or hurt a student. Students should be able to come to our campus for their education without worrying about safety issues such as this one.”
Kayla Root is a staff reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DailyLobo.