SINGAPORE — The deadline for owners of personal mobility devices (PMDs) to meet fire safety standards will be brought forward by six months to 1 July next year, in light of the recent spate of PMD-related fires.
This was announced in Parliament on Monday (5 August) in a ministerial statement on such devices, delivered by Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min.
Those who have registered their e-scooters and declared them UL2272-certified will also have their devices scheduled to go through a mandatory inspection from April next year. All new e-scooters will need to pass inspections for UL2272 certification as well as width, weight and device speed before they can be registered.
Currently, about 90 per cent of 90,000 registered PMD users in Singapore have self-declared that their devices are not UL2272-certified, Lam said.
He also noted that all PMD-related fire incidents thus far have involved non-UL2272 certified devices, and may have involved inappropriate charging practices, such as the use of incompatible chargers.
Switch PMDs earlier
The new deadline for the UL2272 certification of PMDs is the “earliest reasonable” one, as many Singaporeans rely on them for their livelihoods and their commuting needs, he added.
The new deadline will also give retailers time to bring in sufficient stock of UL2272-certified devices, said Lam.
He urged all owners and users of non-UL2272 certified PMDs to switch them out as soon as possible.
“They are a fire risk if you still keep and charge them at home. These devices should be properly and safely disposed of, as soon as possible,” he said.
Lam stressed that the ministry is studying ways to encourage PMD-users and owners to come forth and dispose of their non-UL2272 certified devices early, with more details to be shared later.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is also working with the National Environment Agency (NEA) to ensure safe and convenient disposal of non-UL2272 certified devices as well as with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) to strengthen educational campaigns and outreach programmes on UL2272 certification and safe charging practices for residential, industrial and commercial buildings, he added.
He cautioned, however, that users still have a part to play by refraining from modding their devices as well as adopting safe charging practices, such as avoiding charging already-full batteries, and regularly checking batteries for damage or deformity.
“They should only use original power adaptors, which should be affixed with Enterprise Singapore’s Safety Mark. Users should never leave their devices unattended when charging. In particular, devices should not be left to charge overnight,” said Lam.
Those caught illegally modifying PMDs – retailers and users – can be jailed for three months and fined S$5,000 for the first offence.
The SCDF had said last month that fires involving PMDs and power assisted bicycles (PABs) more than doubled in the first half of this year from the same period a year earlier.
The number of such reported fires between January and June rose to 54, of which 49 were PMD-related fires, from 24 previously.
Of the 54 reported fires, 36 took place in residential premises, resulting in 31 casualties. In comparison, 23 of the 24 reported fires a year earlier resulted in 11 casualties.
In September last year, the LTA announced UL2272 as a mandatory requirement for PMDs. And since 1 July, shops have been forbidden from selling PMDs that are not UL2272-certified.
This standard improves safety against fire and electrical hazards significantly, by requiring the devices pass a stringent set of tests conducted by accredited testing centres under extreme physical conditions.
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