More than 18 months after Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure expanding the state’s Right to Repair law to include data access for vehicle owners, the voter-approved changes remain in limbo.
Douglas Woodlock, a judge with the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, issued a notice on July 1 announcing another delay in the decision on the automakers’ challenge to the Right to Repair ballot initiative.
Citing “the need to consider fully the implications of the long-anticipated decision” and “unforeseen and unforeseeable scheduling complications encountered in the past several weeks coming upon the extended holiday weekend,” Woodlock further delayed the conclusion of the case.
Based on his statement, the delay is expected to be short. However, the judge previously stated that he would issue a final judgment no later than July 2.
On Nov. 3, 2020, Massachusetts voters approved the ballot measure by a 75% to 25% margin. The new Right to Repair law would require manufacturers to provide vehicle owners both access and control of the diagnostic and repair data generated by their vehicles.
In December 2020, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, whose members produce the vast majority of cars and light trucks sold in the United States, filed for a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the new law. The motion for injunction claims that the updated Right to Repair law “is unconstitutional because it is preempted by federal law.”
“By requiring auto manufacturers to eliminate existing cybersecurity controls that protect core vehicle functions and thereby ensure the safe operation of vehicles within prescribed emissions limits, the Data Law conflicts with the requirements, purposes and objectives of the federal National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Clean Air Act,” the alliance asserts in its court filing.
The Auto Care Association continues to fight for the consumers’ right to choose where they get their vehicle maintained and repaired through both state and federal legislation.