Monday, 23 November 2020 20:06

COMMENTARY: Implications as Massachusetts Updates its Vehicle Right to Repair Law

Written by Gabriel Kotch, Auto Remarketing News
Massachusetts State House in Boston. Massachusetts State House in Boston. Belikova Oksana/Shutterstock.com


On Nov. 3, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly voted “yes” on question No. 1 of the state election ballot, thereby approving the initiative law to enhance, update and protect the 2013 Motor Vehicle Right to Repair Law as an amendment to the Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Right to Repair Act.

The initiative requires that vehicle manufacturers provide vehicle owners and independent car repair facilities with expanded access to telematic (wireless) mechanical data related to vehicle diagnostics, maintenance and repair. 


While the act has been in place in Massachusetts since 2013, the act only regulated diagnostic information obtained from a “non-proprietary vehicle interface device” (e.g. a port) and did not contemplate telematic data.


Automobile manufacturers, dealers, vehicle owners and independent repair shops need to consider key provisions from the Initiative in light of the new requirements.


Key provisions


Beginning with 2022 models, the initiative requires all vehicle manufacturers selling new telematics-equipped vehicles into Massachusetts (including passenger and heavy duty vehicles) design their systems in such a way that vehicle owners and independent third-party repair shops have access to the vehicles’ systems through an interoperable, standardized and open access telematics system.


System specifications


The initiative requires:


  • The telematics system must be accessible through a mobile-based application.
  • The system must be “secure.”
  • The vehicle owner must have direct access to the telematics system through the mobile-based connection.
  • Access to the telematic system must include read/write capabilities, including the ability to read mechanical data and to send commands to in-vehicle components (e.g. braking, acceleration, steering controls) for the “purposes of maintenance, diagnostics and repair.”
  • Upon authorization by the vehicle owner, all mechanical data must be accessible to an independent automobile repair facility for such time as is necessary to complete a repair or for such time as agreed to with the vehicle owner for the purposes of vehicle maintenance, diagnostics and repair.
  • The manufacturer may not require, whether directly or indirectly, that access to the telematic system require any type of authorization, unless the system for accessing vehicle networks and their on-board diagnostic systems is made standard across all makes and models sold into Massachusetts and is administered by an entity that is independent of the manufacturer.


When selling a vehicle that contains a telematic system, a dealership must provide a notice, to be developed by the Massachusetts attorney general, to the prospective buyer, obtain his/her signature and...

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