Today’s Solutions: September 26, 2021

As much as a driver might want to fix a broken part in their car, oftentimes it is not possible because auto manufacturers withhold information about their vehicles. That means the automakers themselves hold a monopoly on repairs and can charge exorbitant prices for them while taking power away from drivers and independent mechanics.

Voters in Massachusetts believe this isn’t fair, which is why they voted in 2012 to enact a “right to repair” law in the state that lets people access vehicle data for repairs. While this was a step in the right direction, the law didn’t cover telematics—the data that computerized cars wirelessly transmit to a remote server.

Telematics contains important mechanical data that aids in repairs and is a crucial part of new vehicles from automakers such as Tesla. To make sure this data becomes visible for all, voters decided to amend the “right to repair” law in this year’s election.

The amendment, which passed with 75 percent approval, requires manufacturers to install a standard open data platform by 2022 that vehicle owners and independent mechanics can access. That data must be accessible via a smartphone app.

Although the new law only exists in Massachusetts, it could be crucial in setting a new nationwide standard for both companies and other state governments to follow.

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