BETHESDA, MD – It may be the state ballot initiative that received the least amount of national attention on Election Day, yet its approval benefits every car owner in the state. On Nov. 6, voters in Massachusetts approved the pro-consumer, pro-competition “Right to Repair” ballot measure with a historic 85 percent of the vote.
As vehicles become more dependent on technology and packed with sophisticated electronics, dealerships could potentially have a monopoly on vehicle repairs if non-proprietary service information not accessible to independent repair shops. Organizations supporting the legislation are now urging Congress to pass a national “Right to Repair” law.
“When more than 2.2 million voters in the commonwealth overwhelmingly approved Right to Repair, they demonstrated how important this issue is to every motorist, not only in Massachusetts, but across the country as well,” said Kathleen Schmatz , president and CEO of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA).
“The Massachusetts legislature unanimously passed Right to Repair legislation earlier this year and Gov. Patrick signed it into law on Aug. 7, but the referendum was still on the ballot and voters had their say. They made it crystal clear that they want to have the Right to Repair,” she added.
When local repair shops are denied access to non-proprietary repair technical information from the car companies, competition and consumer choice are limited. Right to Repair levels the competitive playing field for motoring consumers and between new car dealerships and independent repair shops by requiring that car companies provide full, fair access at a reasonable cost to all non-proprietary service information, tools, fault codes and safety-related bulletins needed to repair motor vehicles.
“Now that Right to Repair is a reality in Massachusetts, it is time for a national Right to Repair law to ensure that all repair information is equally available to every automotive repair facility so car owners throughout the country can choose where and by whom their vehicles are repaired,” said Sandy Bass-Cors, executive director of the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE). “Congress and all interested parties must come together and act in the best interest of American motorists by swiftly passing the Right to Repair Act.”
The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (HR 1449) was introduced into the 112th Congress by Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-NY) and Todd Russell Platts (R-PA), and currently has 52 co-sponsors.
The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act protects motoring consumers from a growing and potentially hazardous vehicle repair monopoly by requiring that vehicle manufacturers provide full access at a reasonable cost to all non-proprietary service information, tools and safety-related bulletins needed to repair motor vehicles.
The legislation provides car companies with strong protections for their trade secrets, only requiring them to make available the same diagnostic and repair information they provide their franchised dealers to the independent vehicle repair market.
For more information, visit www.righttorepair.org.