After a patchwork of local and state warnings, investigations and outright bans of hoverboards, the popular motorized scooters, the federal government issued a sweeping statement of its own on Wednesday.
The message: Many of the machines are a major fire hazard.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the recall of more than a half-million hoverboards, saying that the battery-powered machines had been the cause of at least 60 fires.
The announcement affects 10 companies that make or sell the products, including Razor and Swagway, two of the leading manufacturers.
While the commission said it could not quantify just what percentage of hoverboards would be affected by the recall, Elliot F. Kaye, the chairman of the agency, characterized it as a “significant” portion of the market.
“This involves all the major players,” Mr. Kaye said in an interview.
Hoverboards, which do not actually hover or fly and bear a vague resemblance to a skateboard, have been the subject of regulatory scrutiny in recent years. Officials have banned them from airplanes and sidewalks, and the safety commission opened an investigation last fall because of reports of fires and explosions.
The safety commission investigated fires in more than 20 states. It concluded that the hoverboards caused at least $2 million in property damage.
The risk of fires from the scooter’s electrical system and battery pack have attracted the most attention from the safety commission, which says it will now turn its focus toward the risk of falls and other accidents. The agency is worried that flaws in the board’s design could lead riders to lose their balance.
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SOURCE: NY Times, Rachel Abrams