Automotive & Aftermarket News / News & Car Culture

Massachusetts Votes to Expand “Right to Repair” Law

(Image/Summit Racing)

In what’s being called a win for home mechanics and independent shops, voters in Massachusetts approved a ballot initiative expanding the existing “Right to Repair” law originally adopted in 2012.

This new law adds language surrounding vehicle telemetrics, data access, and wireless transfer.

Basically, as vehicles become more technologically advanced, their internal computer systems are logging more and more data. That data is very useful in the diagnostic, troubleshooting, and repair process. The new law allows independent shops and home mechanics to access that data, without the permission of the vehicle’s original manufacturer.

Proponents say that this will give consumers more repair options, as they won’t be limited to manufacturer-approved service centers (AKA, dealerships). Opponents raised concerns about data security.

Per the language of the law, these changes will begin with 2022 models.

While the law only impacts the state of Massachusetts, there is momentum growing for similar legislation in other states. It’s worth noting that the Massachusetts ballot initiative passed with overwhelming support.

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One Comment

  1. Daniel Wilson says:

    The opponents that raised concerns about data security can rest easy. There’s no reason to worry about something that doesn’t even exist. Depending on a person’s driving style, there might be a legitimate concern about the contents stored in nearly all modern vehicles on-board computers. Call them PCM’s, ECM’s or just plain computers, but the amount and type of data storage is amazing. Items like how often a vehicles top speed is achieved and how frequently the engine bumps its rev limiter are just examples of the vast amount of information that’s collected by the computer.

    My car is insured by the largest auto insurance company in America. They keep asking for my permission to access the PCM data in my daily driver. The lame reason they keep giving is to send me regular email reminders about oil changes and scheduled maintenance. I keep telling them no but I’m thinking HELL NO ! They obviously want to set my cost for insurance based on the data they collect from the computer in my car.
    Safety is the best reason for having laws that govern drivers on public roads. We would have a helluva mess without them. Contrary to the driving laws, American car manufacturers are currently in the second war for muscle car supremacy. I was actively involved the first muscle car war during the sixties and early seventies, but this current deployment is nuclear in comparison to the firecrackers used during the first automotive skirmish.

    My driving record is clean because I do my best to abide by the rules of the road. For the sake of comparison, if I was to allegedly break some of these rules, I would choose a rural area without other drivers around to possibly put in harm’s way. If I pay a premium price for a STREET LEGAL modern performance car with options that push the horsepower mark to over 800 and a top speed approaching 200 mph, would I be justified in driving the car in the manner it was clearly designed for and knowingly break the law ? Of course not.

    But if I get the opportunity to enjoy the performance I paid for without endangering others, I’m definitely going to do it early and often. If I break it I’m going to fix it because it’s the “right to repair” thing to do.

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