Australian Federal Government Bans Hoverboards (Temporarily)

An interim ban on not-really-hoverboards was announced by the Assistant Treasurer Friday, preventing the sale of dodgy hoverboards that are prone to exploding. The ban will take effect from Saturday March 19 and will be in place for 60 days, until further action can be decided upon.

The revised Australian response comes two days after the US officially banned hoverboards.

It's become pretty common knowledge that so-called 'hoverboards' not only make you look like a wanker, but are inherently dangerous too. Federal government agencies have started to take notice thanks to cheap hoverboards' nasty tendency to spontaneously combust, and on Friday the Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer has taken the step of imposing an interim ban on the sale of devices. This ban only applies to units with batteries and battery control systems that don't meet certain safety standards, however.

“The ACCC has advised of four house fires in Australia directly linked to hoverboards resulting in the destruction of two houses,” Minister O’Dwyer said. “Specifically, the ACCC’s investigation found there are fire safety risks from defective charging devices, electrical circuitry and substandard lithium-ion batteries in hoverboards. The interim ban sets out the safety requirements for batteries and battery control systems that hoverboards must meet in order to be sold in Australia."

While the ban is in place, the ACCC will continue to consult with hoverboard suppliers and electrical safety experts to ensure that all further sales of these products are safe. Unfortunately there are no plans to stop people from calling them hoverboards, however.

Consumer group CHOICE has applauded the move, after issuing their own warnings on the potential fire risk from these popular devices. "While these products might look more like something out of a science fiction film, the fire risk from units that do not meet Australian electrical safety standards couldn’t be more real," said CHOICE Head of Media Tom Godfrey.

“Consumers should not charge or use their hoverboards unless their supplier confirms that their hoverboard meets those safety requirements," Minister O'Dwyer added.

While it's not a recall and the ban only applies to manufacturers and suppliers, you can check if your hoverboard meets Australian safety standards on the information page here. It's also worth checking to make sure products you own haven't been recalled as a potential risk.



    You can't ban what doesn't actually exist. Back to the Future was only a MOVIE!!! :p

    NOOO they cant ban them ! think of all the videos we will miss of people hurting themselves while potentially on fire

    None of these devices can be guaranteed safe, because they are not manufactured in any normal sense. They are packed by distributors from hundreds of random assembly factories from parts from hundreds of individual suppliers for all of the tens of parts in them in a unceasing swirl of design changes. Any certifications are irrelevant, because every shipment of devices and even devices within the shipments have no real providence. Because the subsystems involve large amounts of power, both for charging and for operation, this matters a lot.

    In additional the whole design in inherently unsafe to ride in a way that a bike or segway or even a skateboard is not - it is only capable of balancing within certain fine limits because the human riding it is acting as the self balancing "circuit" to an inherently unstable device - if the positioning of your body on the board is outside a certain envelope, you will fall, even with experience on the device. Because the axis in which the unbalancing occurs is front to back, serious head injuries are more likely.

    All a "respected brand" means is that their liability insurance will cover the device blowing up and most internal parts (particularly the battery and charging circuits) might be of better quality (maybe). It will not cover you for the high likelihood of personal injury.

    In short, they should be banned, full stop.

    Surely there were/are standards in place already for electrical devices? If they meet those standard and STILL catch fire, then the standards need updating, urgently. If they already don't meet those standards, what's going to change here?

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