The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

'Right to Repair Act' Reintroduced in Congress

April 29, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act has been reintroduced in Congress, re-igniting debate between different factions of the auto industry. On one side are the independent repair shops and aftermarket parts companies, and on the other side are the automakers and their dealers.

At issue is whether certain technical information needed to make car repairs, such as access codes to a vehicle's computer, should be made available to parties other than the vehicle manufacturers and their dealers.

Though some of this information is available to independent repair shops at a price from manufacturers, some data can be withheld due to proprietary information claims. The bill seeks to change that.

"By guaranteeing access to vehicle repair information, we can empower consumers and give them the opportunity to choose where, how and by whom to have their vehicles repaired," said U.S. Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), the lead Right to Repair sponsor. "We reintroduced the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act so Brooklynites can have the option of self-servicing their vehicle, or the freedom to use an automotive independent repair shop or a car dealership to meet their auto needs."

But opponents of such legislation argue that Right to Repair bills seek to permit after-market companies to steal intellectual property and proprietary parts designs that the automakers have worked hard to develop at considerable cost.  

The bill, HR 2057, is now in the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.


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