University campuses across the US ban hoverboards due to ‘fire concerns’

US Consumer Product Safety Commission says it is looking into 28 fire investigations in 19 states

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The Independent Online

They were among the most popular and sought-after presents over Christmas and now, just days later, it has emerged hoverboards are now being forbidden at US universities, much to students’ disappointment.  

More than 20 institutions from across the country have banned hoverboards in recent weeks amid fears that, not only are they a risk for causing falls and collisions, but the breakout gadget of 2015 is said to be at risk of catching fire as well.

Among the universities to ban them is the University of North Georgia (UNG) which took to its Facebook page to release an immediate statement this week on the “fire concerns surrounding Hoverboards.”

It continued: “UNG prohibits the use, possession, or storage of Hoverboards, Swagways, or similar devices in all UNG buildings. Residential students should not bring these devices to campus and UNG strongly cautions against storing these products in vehicles. UNG’s priority continues to be the safety of the students, faculty, staff, and visitors on our campuses.”

Other universities to follow suit include Kean University in New Jersey, Washington, D.C.’s American University and George Washington University, Louisiana State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Arkansas.

Hoverboards to be returned

One second-year student at Shawnee State University in Ohio spoke of his disappointment at receiving an email from staff over Christmas asking students to leave the gifts at home in the new year.

According to ABC News, he said: “Honestly I was really disappointed.I don’t think it’s right to ban them. I mean, it’s a college campus - it’s not a high school.”

The string of bans seemed to have come about following a report from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission on Monday which said it was looking into 28 fire investigations in 19 states, adding: “Many fires occurred while charging/soon after.”

The latest university to issue a ban has been the University of Kentucky (UK). Speaking with local news site WKYT, the UK’s fire marshal, Greg Williamson, described how the city of New York has prohibited people from riding hoverboards. He added: “When you have the United Kingdom saying they're banning them, it shows you that this is something that is not just a knee-jerk reaction. It's something that is very concerning to us.”

Despite being prohibited, there may be some good news for students, considering the gadgets pass safety tests. The American University said its ban is temporary “until further notice,” and Wellesley College - near Boston - will ban them “until safety standards can be developed and implemented by the manufacturers,” reports ABC News.