Over the last several years, many consumers have been angered to find that according to manufacturers of devices ranging from smartphones to vehicles, the owner has very little right to repair their property. In Massachusetts, voters have overwhelmingly approved a ballot item known as Question 1 or the Right to Prepare Law Vehicle Data Access Requirement Initiative. It passed this week, with 74.8 percent of Massachusetts voters approving it.
With the new right to repair law approved, the lawmakers demand that owners and repair shops have access to their vehicle’s repair data starting with model year 2022. iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens says that modern vehicles can directly send maintenance information to the manufacturer, bypassing local mechanics. Question 1 is intended to make sure consumers can fix their vehicles or get them fixed at the shop of their choice.
The law will mean a more level playing field for independent repair shops with automakers and dealerships. Automakers are increasingly attempting to lock down wirelessly collected repair data known as Telematics. The law allows owners and independent repair shops to access the car’s maintenance information through a smartphone app.
The law could allow wireless diagnostic apps for iOS and Android devices to be developed. Question one is seen as a milestone in the Right to Repair movement that has long aimed to provide access to tools and data needed to fix a wide range of devices, including electronics, appliances, and vehicles, among other things.
Massachusetts is the first state to have voters approve this type of legislation, and other states are likely to follow. A nationwide push to reveal car data is expected to happen and could eventually lead to broader electronics Right to Repair legislation.