Two weeks ago, state Senator Jose Peralta (D-Corona) announced new legislation in regards to hoverboards and electric unicycles, but due to the recent discovery some of the devices are exploding or catching fire, Peralta has announced significant policy changes to his legislation.
The original policy would no longer consider hoverboards or electric unicycles to be considered “electric personal mobility assistive devices” under the state’s Vehicle and Traffic Law, and while this remains, precautions have been set to ensure that faulty devices wouldn’t be able to make it in the market and would further protect those who purchase them. State and municipal authorities would still be able to create their own regulations regarding such devices. Some of the modifications to the legislation include penalties for selling defected hoverboards and electric unicycles that cause spontaneous fires and explosions.
“The new proposal empowers the State Department’s Division of Consumer Protection with the capacity to investigate complaints of these incidents, as well as keep a public database that catalogs them. If the Division determines that hoverboards or electric unicycles have exploded, the agency would post the brand, model, manufacturer and retail seller of the malfunctioning device on its website,” the new legislation reads. Any manufacturer or retail that sells any defective device will face a penalty of $1,000 for each violation and once they reach a third violation, the business will be at risk of losing the ability to sell hoverboards and electric unicycles throughout the state.
“This is a three strikes and you’re out scenario. We simply cannot have people selling products that may endanger the safety of consumers,” said Peralta.
Another modification includes the imposition of civil penalties for the reckless operation of hoverboards or electric unicycles. The owner of these devices must not be at risk of endangering someone else while in operation, or else they may face a penalty ranging from $50 to $100. However, users of these devices are still able to ride them safely through public parks and on sidewalks without facing a fine under this bill.
“Hoverboard and electric unicycle riders don’t belong in urban streets where a sidewalk is available. The last thing we want is to have a hoverboard operator get into a major accident with a truck, car or motorbike,” said Peralta. “And while riding on city sidewalks, they have to make sure they do so in a safe manner, while providing pedestrians with the utmost respect.”
As a further precaution, the legislation requires anyone under the age of 18 to wear protective gear, specifically a helmet, knee pads, and wrist guards, while in operation of a hoverboard.“We have to deal with this issue head on because the reality is that this a new technology,” said Peralta. “As we await new safety standards from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, we must take interim steps to ensure that shoddy versions of these devices and poor components are not finding their way into the marketplace. We must ensure that our kids ride these popular devices in a manner that is very safe.”