A federal judge on Tuesday cleared the way for Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell to begin enforcing the state’s embattled automotive right-to-repair law on June 1, even as the world’s carmakers continue their effort to overturn the statute.
The law requires that automakers who sell cars in Massachusetts provide consumers and independent repair shops with wireless access to the car’s “telematics” — digital information needed to diagnose the vehicle’s performance, so independent mechanics can easily repair the vehicles. A coalition of carmakers say that the law would undermine auto data security, and that the law is poorly drafted and impossible to obey.
Campbell said in March that she would begin enforcing the law on June 1, even though a lawsuit targeting the law has yet to be resolved. Last Thursday, the carmakers asked US District Judge Douglas Woodlock for a temporary restraining order to stop Campbell.
In an online hearing, Woodlock criticized the law, saying that its goal “is in its current form likely unattainable,” and that enforcing it would do real harm to the automakers. But Woodlock also said that the greater burden of harm was borne by Campbell, who is seeking to enforce a law approved overwhelmingly by voters in a 2020 referendum.
“The people have voted on this and that’s the result,” said Woodlock. “I am loath to impose my own views on the initiative.”
Woodlock said the carmakers could still seek a preliminary injunction against the law, a more complex and time-consuming process.