Question 1 is the “Right to Repair Law” Vehicle Data Access Requirement Initiative. It is an indirect statute set by the state of Massachusetts. Since its approval, vehicle manufacturers in Massachusetts who sell cars with telematics systems must fit their 2022 models with an open data platform. This platform will allow vehicle buyers and independent repair shops to have access to the mechanical data of the vehicle, as well as run diagnostics of the cars using a mobile app. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Question 1 expands the access to car data.
  • Right to repair allows customers to choose who repairs their cars.
  • Although Question 1 was approved, manufacturers are still pushing back customers having all the tools and guides to fix their cars.

Who was against the vote on Question 1?

  • Votes: 867, 674
  • Percentage: 25.03%

The Coalition for Safe and Secure data campaign was the opposition to Question 1 (2020). The contributions to the campaign amounted to $26.6 million, with the top donors including Toyota Motor North America, Inc, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Nissan North America Inc, and American Honda Motor Co., Inc, Conor Yunits. They argued that the law would make it easy for hackers, strangers, and criminals to gain access to real-time data of personal vehicles. 

Who Supported the vote on Question 1?

  • Votes 2, 599, 182
  • Percentage: 74.97%

The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition raised $24.9 million in contributions. The top donors included the Auto Care Association, the Coalition of Automotive Repair Equality, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Auto Zone, Genuine Parts Company, and Advanced Auto Parts. This coalition was fighting for the consumer because the information from the car could allow vehicle owners to take their vehicles to an independent repair shop of their choice for reliable repairs. Of course, making the right economic choice between repair and replacement is also important.

How Will the “Right to repair” Law Work?

The initiative will allow vehicle owners to get the telematics system data using a mobile app. Then, car repair shops will access the data for diagnostic testing and send repair and maintenance commands to the system. 

Question 1 also mandates that the mechanical data available through an open data platform will be standard across all car makes and models. Thus, any third party can access them. Motor vehicle dealers also need to present notices to potential motor vehicle owners that detail the telematics systems of the car and the requirements under the new law. Suppose any vehicle manufacturer denies a customer access to the vehicle’s mechanical data. In that case, they will attract $10 000 in compensations or treble damages to the vehicle owner. Another interesting court battle is the Impression Products Inc vs Lexmark International Inc case.

F.A.Q.S

When did the state of Massachusetts first adopt Question 1?

The signing of the first “right to repair law” was on November 26, 2013. Its purpose was to reconcile the differences between the legislative compromise of the initiative and Question 1 (2012), which has 87.7% voter approval. The difference between the legislative promise and the 2012 initiative was that the latter included recreational vehicles, motorcycles, and some large trucks. The former dealt with light trucks and automobiles. In 2014, repair shop unions and automaker associations signed an MOU agreeing to the 2013 Massachusetts “right to repair” law in Washington, D.C, and all 50 states.


What exactly is telematics?

It refers to any car system that collects information from a vehicle. It then transmits it wirelessly to a remote storage point.


Why are the big automakers against Question 1?

Automakers are already producing 2022 models, and the requirement for them to open up wireless data access at this point could compromise the security of the vehicles because of remote hacking. In addition, car manufactures have been working to harden the security of these electronic systems, which will now be open to the public. Also, for the manufacturer to meet these requirements in haste, there are chances that car systems will be vulnerable to cyber-attack.



STAT: The efforts of car manufacturers to go against the Question 1 lawsuit that had an approval of 75% of voters was to no avail. (source)

Ryan Mcbride

Ryan McBride is a writer based in Los Angeles. He has contributed work to magazines and sites including Gayot, Spy, Paper, Ladygunn, 3AM and the Crab Creek Review. He writes consumer reviews, essays, science and tech journalism as well as literary and art criticism.

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