Voters in Massachusetts have approved a ballot that would force automakers to allow independent shops to access extensive vehicle data and make repairs.
As vehicles have become more complicated, with more functions being controlled by computers and artificial intelligence, automakers have restricted access from third-party shops. Instead, automakers have increasingly required car owners to use dealerships and approved shops.
Massachusetts voters have just dealt one of the first major blows to automakers, requiring them to make their vehicle data available, via an open platform, beginning with the 2022 model year.
“The Auto Care Association is extremely pleased that Massachusetts voters have overwhelmingly supported passage of Question 1 on this year’s ballot,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO, Auto Care Association. “Approval of Question 1 ensures that car owners can control the mechanical data that is being transmitted by their vehicle through telematics. This referendum also means that despite advances in technology, owners will be able to have their repair data shared directly with their trusted independent shops. Not only is this a clear win for the Right to Repair Coalition that is comprised of thousands of shops throughout the state, it is also a victory for the car owners of the commonwealth who saw through the scare tactics from the manufacturers. The people of Massachusetts have decidedly favored competition in auto repair. Furthermore, we are greatly appreciative of each and every aftermarket company around the country that stepped up in support of this important campaign.”
Massachusetts’ initiative will likely encourage other states to enact similar measures, potentially changing how vehicles are repaired.