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N4T Investigators: Hover Hazards - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Hover Hazards

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TUCSON- It was once one of the hottest selling Christmas items, but now more questions are coming up about hoverboards. There's a new warning from federal safety regulators. Our Bret Buganski found out the University of Arizona may also take new action.

"Everyone stares, whenever you pass by heads will turn and people are like what is that," said U of A junior Brooke Goldstein.

She's talking about the hoverboard, also known as the self balancing scooter.

When you think hoverboard, what immediately comes to mind?

"Back to the Future, right," said Dr. Peter Rhee, from Banner University Medical Center.

 

It's not the futuristic skateboard Marty McFly rode to escape Griff's gang back in the year 2015. It also doesn't levitate, but has wheels.

"Some people say they're hard to ride but you just gotta like gotta get the technique in your feet," said Goldstein. "It's like riding a bike."

You may catch her riding one of these with seemingly no effort.

"I would also assume that people who buy these have an understanding of what the liabilities are," said Dr. Rhee, who told the N4T Investigators Banner UMC treated a handful of people since October for hoverboard related injuries.

"They were all things that you would expect they were minor fractures and sprained ankles and those types of things," said Dr. Rhee. "Fortunately they're not high speed."

He said those injuries are similar to ones suffered from a skateboard or bicycle injury. Some of those hoverboard falls are captured on video and have since gone viral. But now the Consumer Product Safety Commission says there is no hoverboard on the market that's safe.

A Nashville family barely escaped their house after it caught fire, and the hoverboard is considered the source of the fire. From December 1, 2015 to February 17, 2016, safety regulators received reports of 52 hoverboard fires in 24 states, resulting in $2 million in property damage.

The University of Arizona's director of health and safety Herb Wagner said hoverboards are already banned inside campus buildings, including the dorms.

"It's a good possibility we may ban them completely, I can't say that for sure," said Wagner.

The CPSC put importers on notice saying hoverboards must meet new UL Safety Standards or they'll be seized at ports. Companies could also face a recall.

"I just trusted that the one that we purchased was not one of them ones that were dangerous," said Susan Rivlett, who is at a bit of a crossroads on the issue.

"We love them, the girls are having fun on them and we haven't had any issues yet at this point," she said.

Her daughter and her friend spend hours outside every day playing on their Christmas gifts.

"It's a great investment to get them out of the house instead of them having them watch TV," added Rivlett.

But despite the fun, Rivlett and Goldstein cannot ignore the warning signs.

"We should definitely look into taking it back and seeing if there's another option, or if they're all safe or if they're all dangerous," said Rivlett.

"I'm just trying to be really careful and enjoy the hoverboard while I have it," said Goldstein.

Federal safety regulators are warning people to not leave them plugged in unattended. They're recommending you put them away and take them back to wherever you bought one to demand proof that it meets the new safety standards.

If you have a story for the N4T Investigators, email investigators@kvoa.com or call the tipline 520-955-4444.

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