Hoverboards banned from MBTA buses, trains, subways

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2016/05/24/hoverboards-banned-from-mbta-buses-trains-subways/

BOSTON – Hoverboards won’t be allowed on subways, buses, trains or trolleys, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority declared Tuesday, citing safety issues such as “fire and explosions” tied to the battery-driven devices.

“Due to a string of recent injuries, fires and explosions associated with hoverboards nationwide, the MBTA conducted an assessment of the devices and determined that they are a safety risk,” the T said in a statement posted on its website. The ban also extends to stations, ferries and other properties controlled by the nation’s sixth-largest transit system by passenger use.

New York banned the boards late last year, citing threats to pedestrians and vehicles on the crowded streets of Manhattan. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in February cited 52 reported incidents in which a board caught fire, in a letter urging manufacturers, importers distributors and retailers to ensure that the batteries used in the products comply with standards. If they don’t, the agency said they should be considered defective and dangerous.

In Boston on May 8, a hoverboard started a fire in a North End residence, displacing three families in the neighborhood and causing an estimated $100,000 in damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association in Quincy. The board was not in use at the time the fire began.

The federal consumer agency warned that making, importing or distributing defective boards could lead to fines and criminal penalties. The MBTA said it examined investigations into the boards conducted by other organizations around the country.

“Failures in the Lithium-ion battery that powers such devices are the root cause of the self-combusting fires,” the T said Tuesday. “Battery failures are caused by issues ranging from external abuse to cell manufacturing.”

“MBTA rules do not allow articles of an inflammable or explosive nature to be carried into any station or into or upon any passenger vehicle,” the agency said. It pointed out that many U.S. airlines and other transit systems, including in New York and Chicago, also ban the boards.

The T also cited the potential for injuries to board riders or others in stations or on transit vehicles.

There have been dozens of incidents involving hospital emergency room visits to treat broken bones, concussions and abrasions resulting from riding the boards, Consumer Product Safety agency chief Elliot F. Kaye said in December. He advised consumers to carefully check the source of boards they may consider buying and whether the manufacturer could be contacted. He also advised consumers to avoid charging boards overnight or when the device is out of sight.

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