On May 24, 2016, the MBTA released a statement banning the use of hover boards on all MBTA property. Subway and bus personnel, along with Keolis Commuter Rail staff have been informed that customers with hover boards shall not be permitted to bring such devices into MBTA stations and onboard MBTA vehicles.
Due to continuing injuries, fires, and explosions the MBTA has determined that they will be banning hover boards from all MBTA property, including stations, trains, buses, subways, and commuter boats. There is said to be no exceptions.
Hover Boards can catch fire due to failures in the Lithium-ion battery that powers such devices. These battery failures can be caused by issues ranging from cell manufacturing to external abuse. Currently, there are no safety regulations in the United States regarding the design and manufacturing of hover boards. 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.
A self-combusting fire that stems from a hover board can expose bystanders to smoke and toxic gas, which can result in injury or death. Also the rider is at risk of injury due to falls, collisions, and risk of harming oneself on the platform.
Other transit authorities and airlines have also placed a ban on hover boards on their premises. This is following a string of many colleges and universities that have also prohibited such devices. At Wellesley College near Boston, a policy bans the motorized scooters “until safety standards can be developed and implemented by the manufacturers.”
There have been numerous cases of hover board related injuries all across the country. In the past 2 weeks, Alabama has seen two cases of hover board-related fires. Just last week, Platte County, Montana reported a case of a hover board catching fire just only 2 hours after being plugged in to its proper charging device. Firefighters believe a hover board is to blame for the fire that damaged a 4½-story residential building in Boston’s North End last month.
This isn’t the first time hover boards have been blamed for fires; the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in a letter issued in February noted 52 reports of fires that users say were caused by hover boards in 24 states. Those fires led to $2 million in property damage, including destruction of two homes and an automobile. The letter also explained that if the hover boards were to meet existing standards, many of those incidents would not have happened.