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MA Ballot Question 1: Right to Repair

Should you, or shouldn’t you? 2020 Massachusetts Ballot Question 1 has a lot of voters wondering which option is best for the people of the Commonwealth as proponents on each side spend millions on advertising to convince you to vote one way or the other.

If approved, Question 1 would require car manufacturers to make telematic vehicle data available to third-party repair shops. The proposed law would mandate that manufacturers that sell motor vehicles equipped with telematics systems be required to install an open data platform beginning with model year 2022. The telematics system would be required to be standardized across all makes and models and be administered by an independent party.

The telematics system is defined as any system in a motor vehicle that collects information generated by the operation of the vehicle, like remote diagnostics information, crash notifications, stolen vehicle locations or navigation. The telematics system transmits that information utilizing wireless communications to a remote receiving point where it is stored. Vehicle owners could access the information and give consent to independent repair facilities to access that information and send commands to the car’s system for repair, maintenance or diagnostic testing.

If passed, this law would also require motor vehicle dealers to give all car buyers a notice from the Attorney General that explains the car’s telematics system and the requirements under the new law. Denial of access to mechanical data by a manufacturer would result in triple damages, or $10,000 in compensation to the vehicle owner.

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 standardized vehicle diagnostic and repair information made available to the manufacturers’ Massachusetts dealers and authorized repair facilities.

A NO VOTE, would make no change to the existing law, which requires auto manufacturers to give independent repair shops access to the same diagnostic and repair information they give their own dealers through a port in the car that repair shops can plug into. The current law excludes most telematics, which were not widely used when the right to repair law was instituted in 2013.

For more, see the Secretary of State’s Information for Voters.

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