A recent decision made by UMBC’s Office of Environmental Safety and Health has led to a campus-wide ban on hoverboards and drones. This decision was made in response to recent events regarding the safety of hoverboards, as well as new regulations issued for drones.
According to the rules and regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration, the UMBC campus is within BWI Airport Class B airspace and the restricted flight area of Washington, D.C., therefore prohibiting drones from being flown in this area for either research or recreational purposes. UMBC’s Office of Environmental Safety and Health is attempting to discover areas nearby that will allow the use of drones. In the meantime, drone users are required to get every aircraft, no matter the size, approved by the FAA due to recent issues pertaining to the aircraft and their threat to privacy, safety and security.
Additionally, as of Monday, Jan. 11, hoverboards are no longer allowed anywhere on the UMBC campus due to safety concerns. A series of reported incidents in which hoverboards have caught fire have caused the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the companies that distribute and sell these products to take action. Due to the safety risk now associated with hoverboards, the CPSC has launched an investigation regarding these incidents.
The CPSC is currently investigating 39 different occasions in which the hoverboards have ignited. These incidents have occurred while the devices are charging, and sometimes even when they are in use. The lithium-ion batteries which are used to power these hoverboards are believed to be the root cause of these fires, but the investigation is still underway.
UMBC is not the only university to ban hoverboards from their campus. Over 30 colleges nation-wide have either enacted restrictions on hoverboard use or have banned them altogether from their campuses.
Although hoverboards have become increasingly popular in college communities, students at UMBC seem to be proponents of having them eliminated from campus. Christine Chang, a freshman biology major, is in favor of the decision stating that she’s “glad that UMBC placed the ban on hoverboards. They’re not completely safe and are a distraction.”