December 3, 2022

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Congressional watchdog to study automotive ‘right to repair’ issues

3 min read

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Federal government Accountability Place of work in the coming months will take a look at “proper to fix” troubles involving the car field, the congressional watchdog verified Wednesday.

In an e-mail to Automotive Information, spokesman Chuck Young reported the office recognized a request previous 7 days to examine the subject and designs to start out the energy in about 6 months “when pertinent workers total other perform and come to be out there.”

The motion comes soon after Rep. Jan Schakowsky urged the GAO to examine “federal agencies’ endeavours to make certain consumers’ right to restore” with respect to mild-responsibility autos and vehicles.

The Illinois Democrat asked the GAO to examine how federal businesses could harmony considerations this sort of as “addressing cybersecurity challenges that may possibly be affiliated with larger obtain to car or truck info and whether or not technology exists to guarantee each knowledge obtain and cybersecurity protections,” in accordance to a letter despatched June 6 to GAO Comptroller General Gene Dodaro.

Schakowsky also pressed the GAO to appear into the success of the auto industry’s self-regulation and how it has saved pace with innovations in engineering as effectively as the competitiveness of the automobile repair service sector in the U.S.

The Residence lawmaker also requested for recommendations to other federal organizations to ensure consumers’ right to restore centered on the GAO’s study of the situation.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which signifies most significant automakers in the U.S., claimed it welcomes the additional analyze.

“Appropriate now, most publish-guarantee get the job done — 70 p.c — is carried out by the independent aftermarket,” the alliance reported in a assertion. “In fact, the [Federal Trade Commission] has cited the automotive business as a positive example of the marketplace doing work well.”

Schakowsky, in the letter, argues a 2014 memorandum of understanding in between automakers and impartial garages and merchants “predated the use of telematics to wirelessly transmit car facts to companies.”

“The details transmitted to makers consists of all those utilised for diagnostic and repair service needs — potentially undermining the industry’s self-regulation of proper to repair via the 2014 memorandum,” she wrote.

In February, U.S. Rep. Bobby Hurry, D-Ill., released a bill mandating that motor vehicle homeowners and unbiased repair service outlets have the similar obtain to repair service and routine maintenance resources and information as automakers and their franchised dealerships.

Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., also have each and every introduced suitable-to-restore legislation.

Rush’s invoice is related to a controversial ballot evaluate in Massachusetts that was enacted by voters in 2020. The evaluate expands the present proper-to-repair law and necessitates makers of automobiles sold in the state to equip motor vehicles that use telematics units with a standardized, open up-accessibility information platform, beginning with the 2022 model yr. It also provides car or truck homeowners and unbiased fix retailers access to real-time info from the telematics, these types of as crash notifications, remote diagnostics and navigation.

In an ongoing legal struggle with Massachusetts Attorney Typical Maura Healey, the alliance has argued that the state’s amended appropriate to restore legislation conflicts with various federal rules, poses cybersecurity and car or truck protection threats and sets an extremely hard timeline for compliance.

U.S. District Decide Douglas Woodlock is expected to problem a ruling on the circumstance by July 1.

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