NCR Auto Care's Bill Hanvey

Massachusetts Right to Repair subject to lawsuit

The Federal lawsuit by the association representing vehicle manufacturers that was filed in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts seeking to prevent the Commonwealth’s updated Right to Repair law from taking effect will go to trial this week. On 3 November, 2020 more than 75% of voters in Massachusetts voted yes on Ballot Question 1 that proposed to amend the existing Right to Repair laws in the Commonwealth to expand access to mechanical data necessary to perform vehicle maintenance and repairs including data transmitted wirelessly over telematics systems.

The suit, Alliance for Automotive Innovation vs. Maura Healy, Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, was filed in November seeking both preliminary and permanent injunctions to stop the newly revised law that was approved by voters from taking effect as scheduled requiring manufacturers give consumers the ability to access the data and grant access to independent repair facilities.

The law requires vehicle manufacturers that have telematics systems to, by Model Year 2022, develop and install in all vehicles sold in the state a standardised, open-access, bi-directional platform allowing third parties unfettered access to use and alter the mechanical data emanating from the motor vehicle to the platform.

Vehicle manufacturers raise numerous concerns with the new law including cyber security concerns, insufficient time to comply with the data access requirements and the state law is pre-empted by federal law.

The Auto Care Association that represents the automotive aftermarket is a supporter of the ballot initiative and the revised law. “Auto Care is carefully following the trial as well as the verdict which likely will occur sometime later in the [northern] summer. Obviously, we hope that the court will uphold the will of the people of Massachusetts. However, no matter the result, the Association is committed to continuing the campaign to ensure that car owners, nationwide, have the ability to directly access their in-vehicle data in real time and to have that data available to the repair shop of their choice,” stated Bill Hanvey, President and CEO of the Auto Care Association.

This article courtesy of Russell Thrall III, publisher CollisionWeek. Check out their website at: www.collisionweek.com.

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