Shortly after airlines placed a ban on hoverboards because of safety concerns, colleges across the country are beginning to follow suit.
The George Washington University recently announced that as of January 1, 2016, hoverboards were no longer allowed on campus. A letter from the University stated it was seeking to keep the campus safe as a number of consumer agencies investigate the gadgets for fire risks, writes Nick Jaynes for Mashable.
To date, more than 16 hoverboard fires in 13 states are currently under investigation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It is unknown why the machines are catching fire during charging or while being operated. The hoverboards flew off store shelves as the one of the most popular gifts of the 2015 holiday season.
At least four colleges in Connecticut, including Sacred Heart University, the University of Hartford, the University of Bridgeport, and the University of New Haven, have also placed a ban on the devices, citing potential safety issues and fire hazards. While some do not allow their operation anywhere on campus, other institutions, such as the University of Hartford, have decided to ban them from residence halls but not on the campus as a whole.
School officials for the University of Connecticut said they would be reviewing the issue and coming to a conclusion for their campuses in early 2016, reports Jill Konopka for NBC Connecticut.
Another school to join the growing list is American University. Through an email to students earlier this week from Dan Nichols, AU's executive director of risk, safety and transportation programs, the school said it has decided to temporarily ban the devices from campus as well as any buildings owned by AU until the Consumer Product Safety Commission finishes its investigation.
"Due to safety concerns associated with hoverboards that have been raised by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the potential impact to the safety of our community, American University has decided to institute a temporary ban on these devices," the letter reads. "Effective January 4, 2016, and until further notice, hoverboards, also known as self-balancing scooters and hands-free segways will not be permitted on campus or in any AU-owned building."
The Department of Residential Life at the University of Louisiana made a similar announcement earlier in the week, banning the devices from residence halls, apartments, and Greek houses. "We are not willing to risk your safety and your community's safety," officials said.
Residential Life for the University met with LSU Risk Management and Safety about the hoverboards, which have been known to catch fire and injure users, with emergency rooms seeing an increase in patients who had injuries ranging from open head wounds to arm or leg fractures related to the operation of the devices, reports Juan Sanchez for WDSU.
LSU said that its decision to ban the devices came as a result of the device batteries bursting into flames while being charged. The school took the ban one step further than most other schools by applying it to all electronic skateboards, including self-balancing boards and scooters. The ban is expected to continue until safety standards are in place for the hoverboards and implemented on all models.