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Tuesday, 16 June 2020 21:14

MA Car Repair Choice Law Headed to Ballot

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The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition has collected more than 26,000 additional signatures to ensure its initiative petition to protect independent car repair shops and consumer car repair choice will reach the November ballot, doubling the legal requirement of 13,374.

The signatures will be submitted to local clerks in 351 cities and towns by close of business June 17 and then to the Secretary of State by July 1.
 
The Coalition, a group of Massachusetts independent repair shops, auto parts stores, trade associations, consumers and drivers, said the initiative petition would allow Massachusetts car owners to continue to have access to the repair and diagnostic mechanical information produced by their car, a right they gained after voting 86% for the existing Right to Repair law on the 2012 ballot.
 
In 2020, advancements in vehicle technology have resulted in 90% of new cars being equipped to transmit real-time diagnostic and repair information wirelessly to vehicle manufacturers.

 

Restrictions put in place by automakers regarding access to this wireless repair data threaten the rights that Massachusetts car consumers enjoy today, to choose to get their cars fixed at trusted independent repair shops or do the work themselves.  
 
“We need to update Right to Repair before wireless technologies remove the car owner’s right to get their vehicle repaired at our local, independent shop because the automaker would rather steer them towards one of their more expensive dealers,” said Alan Saks of Dorchester Tire Service. “We need to protect consumers’ rights to shop around for car repairs.”
 
The initiative petition filed, "An Initiative Law to Enhance, Update and Protect the 2013 Motor Vehicle Right to Repair Law," pertains to “mechanical data” related to “maintaining, diagnosing and repairing” cars. 

 

The key provision of the initiative is as follows:
 
"Commencing in model year 2022 and thereafter a manufacturer of motor vehicles sold in the Commonwealth, including heavy duty vehicles having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 14,000 pounds, that utilizes a telematics system shall be required to equip such vehicles with an inter-operable, standardized and open access platform across all of the manufacturer’s makes and models. 


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