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9/19/2012 8:15:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Large Trucks Excluded From Mass. Law Requiring OEMs to Share Repair Data

By Timothy Cama, Staff Reporter

This story appears in the Sept. 17 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

Large trucks have been excluded from a new Massachusetts law that allows vehicle repair shops to access proprietary manufacturer information.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) signed in late August what supporters called the first “right-to-repair” law in the country, after state lawmakers exempted trucks of more than 10,000 pounds.

Truck makers testified that the information-sharing system would not work for trucks.

“We originally hoped that heavy-duty vehicles could be included in the legislation, but . . . the model of information and software sharing that we had developed for light-duty vehicles would have to be different for heavy-duty vehicles,” said Art Kinsman, spokesman for the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition.

Kinsman said his group’s goal is to get trucks included, and while the law currently applies only to smaller cars, a ballot initiative in November could require the information sharing system to include heavier vehicles.

Currently, the law requires auto manufacturers make all information and tools for repairing their vehicles available for sale to any repair shop in Massachusetts.

Auto makers initially opposed the move, because it would expose their dealer networks to more competition, Kinsman said.

Manufacturers frequently prevent independent shops from making some repairs by requiring certain codes or tools to make them, directing vehicle owners to dealer networks, he said.

However, the auto companies decided to negotiate with lawmakers and Massachusetts Right to Repair to develop an information system that they could work with, Kinsman said.

Truck manufacturers, on the other hand, told lawmakers they could not work with the same information-sharing system.

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