Economics/Class Relations

Massachusetts Voters Affirm the Right To Repair Your Own Car

While I don’t care for the vulgar libertarian economic outlook of Reason, they get so many things right on both state and class issues, often much, much more so than the “left” (a low standard to be sure).

By Eric Boehm, Reason

The most expensive ballot initiative campaign in Massachusetts history ended with a resounding victory for property rights as voters approved the so-called “right-to-repair” ballot initiative.

With more than 96 percent of precincts reporting by Wednesday afternoon, nearly 75 percent of voters had approved Massachusetts Question 1. The initiative’s passage means that car manufacturers will be required to provide vehicle diagnostic data to consumers and independent mechanic shops. Voters in the state approved a similar right-to-repair ballot measure in 2012, but this year’s election closes a loophole that auto manufacturers had been using to skirt the requirements established by that earlier vote.

The state’s existing law—which became the basis for new national standards implemented by the auto industry in 2014—required that vehicle diagnostic data was made available via an open platform. In short, that means that if you own a Toyota, you don’t have to go to a Toyota-affiliated repair shop to find out why your “check engine” light is on. Any repair shop can plug a device into any car and read the data.


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