Voters may have the chance to approve legislation that would require auto manufacturers to give independent auto mechanics access to repair data and diagnostic codes currently available only to dealerships.
Supporters of the proposed legislation, known as “Right to Repair,” said Monday that they had submitted 16,000 signatures — about 5,000 more than required —
A right-to-repair bill was passed by the Senate in May, but the House of Representatives has yet to take action on it. Supporters say the legislation would make it easier for drivers to fix cars themselves or use an independent auto mechanic and avoid higher-priced dealerships.
“Although we are still willing to come to a legislative compromise, delivering these signatures today ensures that, one way or another, Massachusetts consumers will soon be able to take their vehicle where they want for repair and maintenance,” said Art Kinsman, a spokesman for the Right to Repair Coalition, which represents repair shops and other supporters.
Auto manufacturers provide data and diagnostic tools needed to repair today’s technologically sophisticated cars only to authorized dealers. Under the proposed law, automakers would also have to make data and tools available for purchase at a fair price by car owners and independent mechanics.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade association representing some of the world’s largest automakers, says the bill threatens intellectual property rights and could put customers at risk by compromising the online security of data. While the group has tried to reach a compromise with legislators, spokesman Dan Gage said Monday the alliance has formed a committee to fight the issue if put before voters.
“Automakers have a responsibility to the safety of our consumers, the long-term integrity of our products, and the jobs of eight million American workers who rely on us for their livelihoods,” Gage said.