1. What is Right to Repair?
Right to Repair allows property owners (consumers and commercial entities) the right to choose where they have their equipment repaired. It should be common sense that the owner of a piece of property should have the right to have it repaired where they choose but that right did not exist in North America prior to the passage of previous Right to Repair Acts. Right to repair allows a competitive platform for pricing. If OEM's have complete control over repair, there is not price protections available to the property owners. In addition, the absence of sufficient dealer repair facilities to meet the needs in the market will result in loss of income to businesses, further resulting in loss of salary to employees. Finally, fewer repaired vehicles servicing the economy will result supply chain issues in products the consumer wants available to them. The consumer/general public will pay the price without right to repair. In our industry, the inability of a fleet or owner to repair their own vehicles could create the demise of the independent aftermarket.
2. What is the role of CVSN in right to repair?
Right to repair is a diverse issue and covers many industries. CVSN’s main role is to make sure that any legislative solutions include commercial vehicles. We are the only association 100% focused on this aspect of commercial vehicle right to repair. There are many lobbying groups who might approve a law that excluded commercial vehicles. Our job is to make sure that does not happen.
3. What is the history of Right to Repair with regards to the Automotive and Commercial Vehicle industries?
In 2013, Automotive Right to Repair became law in Massachusetts, leading to a national Memo of Understanding (MOU) between auto makers and several automotive aftermarket organizations and included commercial vehicles. As a result of this law passing, the Engine Manufacturers Association agreed to create an MOU that would extend the law passed in Massachusetts to the entire US and Canada for commercial vehicles. They did this to negate the need for additional new legislation in other states.
4. Why are we talking about Right to Repair again?
Modern technology has changed and the previous law in Massachusetts did not account for wireless access to on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems in automotive, truck, and many other industries. As a result, a referendum was overwhelmingly passed by the voters in Massachusetts in 2020 to continue Right to Repair and to include access to the data through new communication technologies like telematics. This has been approved by voters but has been held up in courts over the implementation date. Additionally, many industries are collaborating to create a federal Right to Repair law that would be inclusive of all industries across all states.
For commercial vehicles, involvement by CVSN is to ensure any, and all legislation includes language that protects consumers of trucks and heavy equipment, as well as the independent commercial vehicle service and parts aftermarket.
5. Is this happening in Canada, too?
The issues are the same. However, Canadian legislation for Right to Repair is on a timeline that is only slightly behind the United States. But if federal legislation passes in the U.S., passing Right to Repair legislation in Canada will be a much easier path.
6. What are some other issues being argued over with regards to Right to Repair?
Opponents of recent Right to Repair legislation have argued that access to telematics functions in a vehicle or truck have significant safety ramifications. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) made two points (as shown below) in favor of Right to Repair through telematics. The first states that vehicle telematics functions are better for vehicle safety and the second states that there is no cyber-security threat when accessing information through the vehicle telematics. Most other arguments were defeated when the initial Right to Repair legislation was originally passed.
“First, NHTSA wishes to reiterate the point made in its June 13 letter that some vehicle telematics functions—when and if appropriately secured—can advance vehicle safety. Disabling vehicle telematic functions as an attempt to comply with the Data Access Law would harm vehicle owners, first responders, and other telematics users. For example, vehicle telematics can be life-saving technology, communicating essential data about a vehicle’s location to emergency services in the event of a crash. Safety investigators, including police, NHTSA, and other governmental authorities, increasingly rely on access to vehicle data about crashes and other safety issues collected via telematics. NHTSA would have substantial concerns about the detriment to safety if vehicle telematics functionality were disabled and believes such a result would disserve vehicle owner safety without advancing the right to repair.
Second, NHTSA wishes to emphasize that its concerns regarding risk associated with the broad ability to remotely access and send commands that control a vehicle’s critical safety systems do not arise from a belief that any particular entity or person seeking to repair a vehicle—whether a vehicle manufacturer or manufacturer-affiliated dealer, an independent repair facility, or a do-it yourself vehicle owner—necessarily poses a greater cybersecurity concern than another. Whenever access to write or execute command functionality remotely is contemplated, it is important to be vigilant to minimize risks. NHTSA works to minimize this risk at any level of access—whether by an original equipment manufacturer, dealer, or independent repair facility— and is continually overseeing existing systems for cybersecurity vulnerabilities. NHTSA supports technological developments that can enhance vehicle safety and consumer choice. NHTSA will continue to evaluate safety programs and protocols as technology in this area evolves, which may also enable additional safe compliance pathways under the Massachusetts Data Access Law.”