Sunday, January 26, 2014

Right to Repair Bill

After Massachusetts became the first state in the country to adopt legislation governing access to vehicle diagnostic information, the battle over “Right to Repair” laws at the national and state levels has been declared over.

Automobile manufacturers, repairers and parts dealers on Wednesday announced a national agreement based on the law the passed the Massachusetts legislature last year that would satisfy all parties desires to make vehicle diagnostic information available to mechanics while protecting manufacturer trade secrets and proprietary information.

According to the organizations involved, the signed memorandum of understanding extends the “essential provisions” for all light vehicles negotiated in the Massachusetts law nationwide and applies to all companies and organizations that are currently members of the signatory associations. Those groups include the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers , the Association of Global Automakers, the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, and the Coalition for Automotive Repair Equality.

“This national agreement ensures the Alliance, Global, AAIA, and CARE will stand down in their fight on ‘Right to Repair’ and work collectively to actively oppose individual state legislation while our respective groups work to implement this MOU. In the meantime, the parties agree that further state legislation is not needed and could serve to weaken the effectiveness and clarity of the MOU,” the groups announced in a press release.

State Rep. Garrett Bradley, who has carried the Right to Repair issue in Massachusetts for several years, applauded the agreement. “This law will ensure that independent repair professionals and interested consumers have access to the tools and information required to repair increasingly high-tech cars,” Bradley said in a statement.

In 2012, Massachusetts became the first state to pass a law on the nationally debated issue that auto manufacturers have fought for years, arguing that information sharing jeopardizes proprietary information. The Legislature passed that law in July, but not soon enough to pull the question from the November ballot. Voters passed a slightly different version, which required automakers to share diagnostic information by car model year 2015. The Legislature dictated the information be available by 2018. The Legislature passed an updated law last November reconciling the two versions.

By State House News
on January 22, 2014 at 11:53 AM, updated January 22, 2014 at 12:03 PM