SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) – Massachusetts voters have approved Question 1, also known as “Right to Repair,” which would provide independent repair shops expanded access to wirelessly transmitted mechanical data, according to preliminary election results.
The law requires all new automobiles sold in Massachusetts, starting with the model year 2022, to come with “telematics systems” with open access data platforms. In layman’s terms, newer cars typically have the ability to collect and transmit mechanical data to remote servers, which can diagnose problems and can let owners know if repairs are needed.
Currently, automobile manufacturers are largely in control of such data, which advocates of the Right to Repair law have argued creates unfair competition because independent repair shops cannot work on newer vehicles unless the manufacturers provide the information. As a result, “car owners are steered toward more expensive dealer repair options,” according to advocates.
Opponents of Question 1 tried to sway voters by arguing the law had nothing to with fixing cars, but was rather a “data grab by third parties who want to gather your personal vehicle information and access it remotely, including location data in real time.” Opposition groups also said such access could enable abusers to track down and monitor domestic abuse victims.