Question one: Availability of motor vehicle repair information - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Question one: Availability of motor vehicle repair information

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Editor's note: The following content has been provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

SUMMARY

As required by law, summaries are written by the State Attorney General, and the statements describing the effect of a "yes" or "no" vote are written jointly by the State Attorney General and the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

This proposed law would prohibit any motor vehicle manufacturer, starting with model year 2015, from selling or leasing, either directly or through a dealer, a new motor vehicle without allowing the owner to have access to the same diagnostic and repair information made available to the manufacturer's dealers and in-state authorized repair facilities.

The manufacturer would have to allow the owner, or the owner's designated in-state independent repair facility (one not affiliated with a manufacturer or its authorized dealers), to obtain diagnostic and repair information electronically, on an hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly subscription basis, for no more than fair market value and on terms that do not unfairly favor dealers and authorized repair facilities.

The manufacturer would have to provide access to the information through a non-proprietary vehicle interface, using a standard applied in federal emissions-control regulations. Such information would have to include the same content, and be in the same form and accessible in the same manner, as is provided to the manufacturer's dealers and authorized repair facilities.

For vehicles manufactured from 2002 through model year 2014, the proposed law would require a manufacturer of motor vehicles sold in Massachusetts to make available for purchase, by vehicle owners and in-state independent repair facilities, the same diagnostic and repair information that the manufacturer makes available through an electronic system to its dealers and in-state authorized repair facilities. Manufacturers would have to make such information available in the same form and manner, and to the same extent, as they do for dealers and authorized repair facilities. The information would be available for purchase on an hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly subscription basis, for no more than fair market value and on terms that do not unfairly favor dealers and authorized repair facilities.

For vehicles manufactured from 2002 through model year 2014, the proposed law would also require manufacturers to make available for purchase, by vehicle owners and in-state independent repair facilities, all diagnostic repair tools, incorporating the same diagnostic, repair and wireless capabilities as those available to dealers and authorized repair facilities. Such tools would have to be made available for no more than fair market value and on terms that do not unfairly favor dealers and authorized repair facilities.

For all years covered by the proposed law, the required diagnostic and repair information would not include the information necessary to reset a vehicle immobilizer, an anti-theft device that prevents a vehicle from being started unless the correct key code is present. Such information would have to be made available to dealers, repair facilities, and owners through a separate, secure data release system.

The proposed law would not require a manufacturer to reveal a trade secret and would not interfere with any agreement made by a manufacturer, dealer, or authorized repair facility that is in force on the effective date of the proposed law. Starting January 1, 2013, the proposed law would prohibit any agreement that waives or limits a manufacturer's compliance with the proposed law.

Any violation of the proposed law would be treated as a violation of existing state consumer protection and unfair trade-practices laws.

WHAT YOUR VOTE WILL DO

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

A NO VOTE would make no change in existing laws.

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