After more than 130 fires and multiple lives lost this year alone due to lithium-ion battery-related fires, it is clear that action needs to be taken to enhance the safety of these devices and minimize the damage their misuse can create. To that end, I have signed on as a co-sponsor for Int 0663-2022 – A Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York, in relation to the sale of storage batteries for powered mobility devices.
As the summary of this legislation explains, “This bill would prohibit the sale of batteries for mobility devices such as electric bicycles or scooters unless such batteries have been listed and labeled by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or other approved organization. A person who violated the proposed local law would be subject to a civil penalty. The civil penalty would range from no monetary penalty for a first violation to $1,000 for each subsequent violation within two years.” This would be a major step in preventing the kinds of devastating fires like the ones that cost the lives of 8-year old Stephanie Villa Torres and 5-year old Erica Williams in two separate fires over the last two months.
These fires are completely preventable, and it is our hope that through the proper regulation and storage of lithium-ion batteries, these things will never happen again.