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A Victory for Right to Repair

Victory for the Aftermarket
Question 1 "Right to Repair" wirelessly that was on the Massachusetts ballot passed by a 3 to 1 margin. Massachusetts became the battleground again for automakers versus independent repair shops and the associations representing them, to require automakers to make available the vehicle data sent wireless (telematics) for all vehicles sold after 2022.
The original Massachusetts Right to Repair act passed in 2012 requiring automobile manufacturers to provide the necessary documents and information to allow anyone to repair their own vehicle. While not passed at the federal level, the major automobile trade organizations signed a memorandum to agree to abide by Massachusetts' law in all fifty states starting in the 2018 automotive year. This action will be an amendment to the existing 2012 law. If this amendment is also adapted to the existing agreement covering all 50 states, this could be a game changer for the mobile electronics industry allowing universal access to the vehicle bus, something the aftermarket industry has been desiring for decades.
Although independent repair shops could still diagnose vehicle problems through the OBDII port, automakers had an unfair advantage of doing so wirelessly with vehicles having connected services. They could receive maintenance alerts and contact vehicle owners for service in advance. In some cases, they may even be able to make repairs by resetting error codes or updating software over the air. These same Telematics services enable automakers to offer vehicle owners APPs that will allow them to identify vehicle diagnostic information as well as receive alerts related to low battery voltage or vehicle movement. A signal is required to be sent to the vehicle to run the diagnostic test. This type of control is leveraged to lock and unlock doors and, in some cases, remotely start the vehicle.
This new legislation could be significant to the aftermarket mobile electronics industry. Just as mobile electronics manufacturers have been able to innovate new products connecting to OBDII port, now aftermarket devices and/or APPs can be developed to enhance or enable many vehicle owners’ features. For example, a future keyless entry and remote start add-on may simply be done by downloading an APP setup by the vehicle owner with proper vehicle access credentials. No doubt, aftermarket devices requiring installation will be designed to take advantage of this universal connected service. As Massachusetts based companies, both InstallerNet and the Mobile Electronics Association collaborated with the Auto Care Association to provide testimonials early this year at a hearing held by the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection of Massachusetts Legislature regarding Massachusetts Vehicle Data Access Legislation. That hearing was the first step in the state’s consideration of the data access legislation that has now become law in Massachusetts. The new law amends the state’s existing Right to Repair law —thus ensuring consumers continued choice in vehicle repair.
Last modified on Thursday, 05 November 2020 07:28
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