2012 Information For Voters

QUESTION 1: Law Proposed by Initiative Petition

Availability of Motor Vehicle
Repair Information

Do you approve of a law summarized below, on which no vote was taken by the Senate or the House of Representatives on or before May 1, 2012?

SUMMARY

As required by law, summaries are written by the State Attorney General, and the statements describing the effect of a “yes” or “no” vote are written jointly by the State Attorney General and the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

This proposed law would prohibit any motor vehicle manufacturer, starting with model year 2015, from selling or leasing, either directly or through a dealer, a new motor vehicle without allowing the owner to have access to the same diagnostic and repair information made available to the manufacturer’s dealers and in-state authorized repair facilities.

The manufacturer would have to allow the owner, or the owner’s designated in-state independent repair facility (one not affiliated with a manufacturer or its authorized dealers), to obtain diagnostic and repair information electronically, on an hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly subscription basis, for no more than fair market value and on terms that do not unfairly favor dealers and authorized repair facilities.

The manufacturer would have to provide access to the information through a non-proprietary vehicle interface, using a standard applied in federal emissions-control regulations. Such information would have to include the same content, and be in the same form and accessible in the same manner, as is provided to the manufacturer’s dealers and authorized repair facilities.

For vehicles manufactured from 2002 through model year 2014, the proposed law would require a manufacturer of motor vehicles sold in Massachusetts to make available for purchase, by vehicle owners and in-state independent repair facilities, the same diagnostic and repair information that the manufacturer makes available through an electronic system to its dealers and in-state authorized repair facilities. Manufacturers would have to make such information available in the same form and manner, and to the same extent, as they do for dealers and authorized repair facilities. The information would be available for purchase on an hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly subscription basis, for no more than fair market value and on terms that do not unfairly favor dealers and authorized repair facilities.

For vehicles manufactured from 2002 through model year 2014, the proposed law would also require manufacturers to make available for purchase, by vehicle owners and in-state independent repair facilities, all diagnostic repair tools, incorporating the same diagnostic, repair and wireless capabilities as those available to dealers and authorized repair facilities. Such tools would have to be made available for no more than fair market value and on terms that do not unfairly favor dealers and authorized repair facilities.

For all years covered by the proposed law, the required diagnostic and repair information would not include the information necessary to reset a vehicle immobilizer, an anti-theft device that prevents a vehicle from being started unless the correct key code is present. Such information would have to be made available to dealers, repair facilities, and owners through a separate, secure data release system.

The proposed law would not require a manufacturer to reveal a trade secret and would not interfere with any agreement made by a manufacturer, dealer, or authorized repair facility that is in force on the effective date of the proposed law. Starting January 1, 2013, the proposed law would prohibit any agreement that waives or limits a manufacturer’s compliance with the proposed law.

Any violation of the proposed law would be treated as a violation of existing state consumer protection and unfair trade-practices laws.

WHAT YOUR VOTE WILL DO

A YES VOTE would enact the proposed law requiring motor vehicle manufacturers to allow vehicle owners and independent repair facilities in Massachusetts to have access to the same vehicle diagnostic and repair information made available to the manufacturers’ Massachusetts dealers and authorized repair facilities.

A NO VOTE would make no change in existing laws.

See Full Text of Question 1

ARGUMENTS

As provided by law, the 150-word arguments are written by proponents and opponents of each question, and reflect their opinions. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not endorse these arguments, and does not certify the truth or accuracy of any statement made in these arguments. The names of the individuals and organizations who wrote each argument, and any written comments by others about each argument, are on file in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

IN FAVOR: A YES vote on Right to Repair will make it more convenient and less expensive for car owners to get car repairs by ensuring that no one is forced to go to a dealership for repairs unless they want to.

A broad coalition of independent repair shops and consumer groups like AAA urge a YES vote on Right to Repair because they believe it is only fair that when you buy a car you have access to all information needed to fix it.

A YES vote on Right to Repair will give car owners more options for where they can get car repairs.  A YES vote will allow all car owners and  independent repair shops to have access to all information necessary to fix their car.

A YES vote on Right to Repair means it’s your car, you paid for it, you should get it fixed where you want.

Authored by:
Arthur W. Kinsman
Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee
9 Park Street
Boston, MA 02108
617-248-9427
www.massrighttorepair.com

AGAINST: Automakers already make repair information and tools available for purchase by anyone as a result of a 2002 national agreement.  Repair shops oppose this measure because the current system works.

This measure would negatively alter how repair information is provided and mandate the redesign of all cars, trucks, 18-wheelers, public transit and school buses, fire engines, ambulances, motorcycles and RVs. It would require the use of 15-year-old, outdated technology. Worse, this backward redesign – which adds to sticker price – must occur by January 2, 2014 or vehicles cannot be sold in Massachusetts.

This measure could lead to the release of sensitive personal information, make vehicle hacking easier, and threaten safety and fuel efficiency innovation.  Increased safety threats – including theft – are why law enforcement opposes the measure.

Nothing in the measure requires any supposed savings to be passed on to consumers.

A “no” vote protects consumer safety and ensures vehicle choice.

Authored by:
David Martin, Treasurer
Citizens Committee for Safe and Fair Repair
202 Bonham Road
Dedham, MA 02026
617-312-8031
www.voteNOon1MA.com