Massachusetts overwhelmingly passes Right to Repair law

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In a hotly contested race in which $21 million was spent on messaging, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved a measure that requires car manufacturers to allow do-it-yourselfers and independent mechanics access to vehicle data for repairs.

“The people have spoken—by a huge margin—in favor of immediately updating right to repair so it applies to today’s high-tech cars and trucks,” Tommy Hickey, the director of the Yes on 1 coalition, says in a video message to supporters.

Question 1 (deciphered by Rob Siegel in this article) passed by a 3-to-1 margin. Although a 2012 “Right to Repair” law required sharing mechanical data, it didn’t cover wirelessly transmitted information. The new measure forces carmakers to share telematics, driving, and diagnostics data typically sent directly to a remote server.

The requirement is set to take effect in model year 2022.

Unsplash/NeONBRAND

“Tuesday’s victory shows that people overwhelmingly support fair repair,” iFixit’s Kevin Purdy writes. “And they want people they trust to fix the things they own.”

The Coalition for Safe and Secure Data, which opposed Question 1, argued that the new law comes with an increasing risk for car owners.

“As we have said from the beginning, the right to repair and the ability of local repair shops to access vehicle repair information are already enshrined in Massachusetts law,” the group says in a statement shared on Boston.com. “Today’s vote will do nothing to enhance that right—it will only grant real time, two-way access to your vehicle and increase risk. At no point did the Yes side provide any credible arguments as to why national auto parts chains need this information to service your vehicles.”

mechanice wire cutters pliers close up
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Hickey, on the other hand, says that contention sounds familiar.

“The automakers and their army of lobbyists will make noise and make up stories, saying, ‘It can’t be done,’ just like they did during the campaign. But remember, they said the exact same thing about implementing the first right to repair in 2012.”

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