Massachusetts residents spoke out and voted “yes” on the Right to Repair Bill. According to the results, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly voiced their support at the ballot box for Ballot Question 1, which will preserve vehicle owners’ rights to have access to and control of their vehicle’s mechanical data necessary for service and repair.
“It passed three to one, so it passed by an overwhelming majority even though the opponents spent a lot of money,” said Seth Maiman, Auto Glass Safety Council (AGSC) director of public affairs. “It clearly has a consumer consensus, a public mandate — always a good thing to have when legislating.”
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 owners will be able to have their repair data shared directly with auto glass repair and replacement shops. This is seen as a safety measure for the industry.
“The AGSC got involved in supporting this Massachusetts legislation for safety reasons, because we believe that consumer safety would be jeopardized if repair facilities didn’t have access to the telematics in a vehicle,” explained Maiman. “The idea that a vehicle owner would be able to take their vehicle to a shop to be repaired, in this case to repair or replace auto glass, that didn’t have access to vital safety data has been concerning to AGSC.”
Beginning with vehicles in model year 2022 cars sold in Massachusetts that use the telematics system will have to have an interoperable standardized and open access platform so that the vehicle’s information will have to be shared with an interoperable system.
“The interoperable system will have to be established so that any repair or replacement shop in Massachusetts would have access to critical vehicle data,” said Maiman. “As a practical matter, if the car manufacturer has to do that for cars sold in Massachusetts, it may decide to do that for all of its vehicles, and therefore the hope is that the manufacturer’s obligation to comply with this Massachusetts law will help drive what happens in reality throughout the country.”
According to Maiman, the industry will have to wait and see how vehicle manufacturers react to the Right to Repair legislation. “It has obvious broad implications across the nation. AGSC believes other states might elect to follow Massachusetts’s lead and have their legislators pass similar state laws,” Maiman said. “It is also likely this is the way cars will be manufactured in the future.”