Hoverboards were the gift to get this year, and since Christmas, there have been thousands of videos of users doing everything from gliding gracefully along the sidewalks to crashing and colliding in dangerous stunts and trick attempts. Thanks, in part, to the latter, as well as the host of potential safety risks associated with these items, hoverboards are now topping the lists of banned items in many places -- most recently in New Jersey Transit stations.
In February of 2016, NJ Transit announced a system-wide ban of hoverboards on all trains, light rails, and Access Link vehicles. This ban was issued in an attempt to “put safety first for…customers and employees,” according to a statement from NJ Transit Senior Public Information Officer Jim Smith.
Hoverboards have been linked to a variety of safety concerns ranging from injuries sustained by users who don’t know exactly how to operate them to unsuspecting pedestrians who may cross paths with one.
An additional concern relates to fire hazards after a flood of reports that hoverboards caught fire, or exploded due to defects in the lithium ion batteries that power the devices. A family in New Jersey reported a defective board that burst into flames in December and a Westchester County house fire that same month was also caused by an exploding hoverboard.
Losing Popularity Across the Country
New Jersey is not the only state to issue a ban of hoverboards in public transportation spaces. Delta Airlines has banned passengers from bringing hoverboards on flights as of last December, after the boards were the subject of a consumer alert, which was, again, related to the potential fire hazard caused by the battery.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority has also banned the devices from trains, stations, buses and platforms in January of this year. Amtrak in Chicago has a similar ban, as does the Los Angeles Metrolink.
Although NJ Transit has not yet reported any instances of exploding hoverboards or any other collisions or dangerous situations, Smith said the ban was a move to prevent anything from happening. Hoverboard-related accidents can affect the user as well as any passengers in the area, especially if the device catches fire or explodes.
Many transportation hubs, including NJ Transit, have already banned other personal transportation methods, such as in-line skates and skateboards, which pose similar risks for collisions and crashes. Bicycles are not banned by NJ Transit, but there are certain regulations for users to follow to ensure safety.
An injury sustained by a defective product can result in a personal injury lawsuit brought against the company that manufactured the product, as well as the user (if the device doesn’t belong to the individual using it at the time of the incident). While hoverboards may be losing some of its popularity, they are still widely used and remain dangerous if found to be defective.
If you have been injured as a result of a defective hoverboard or other damaged product, contact a New Jersey personal injury attorney at Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, PA, to discuss your case today.