WASHINGTON — Congressman Neal Dunn, R-Fla., has reintroduced Right to Repair (R2R) legislation that is supported by several automotive aftermarket associations.
The bill — H.R.906, Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act — which has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, seeks "to ensure consumers have access to data relating to their motor vehicles, critical repair information, and tools, and to provide them choices for the maintenance, service, and repair of their motor vehicles and for other purposes."
The bill — similar to one introduced a year ago by Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill. — is designed to ensure affordability, accessibility, and a strong supply chain by safeguarding a free and competitive repair market for the nation's 292 million registered passenger vehicles and millions of commercial vehicles, according to a memo from the Auto Car Association (ACA) and Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA).
Bipartisan co-sponsors include Brendan Boyle, D-Pa., Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Wash.
The bill is supported by the Tire Industry Association (TIA), the ACA, CAR (Consumer Access to Repair) Coalition, MEMA and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).
"Right to repair remains a top priority for TIA members and a national law would provide for much needed clarity and direction in vehicle repair. TIA has supported efforts on both the state and federal levels in recent years," TIA said in a statement.
According to the associations, the bill entails:
- Preserving consumer access to high quality and affordable vehicle repair by ensuring that vehicle owners and their repairers of choice have access to necessary repair and maintenance tools and data as vehicles continue to become more advanced.
- Ensuring access to critical repair tools and information. All tools and equipment; wireless transmission of repair and diagnostic data; and access to on-board diagnostic and telematic systems needed to repair a vehicle must be made available to the independent repair industry.
- Ensuring cybersecurity by allowing vehicle manufacturers to secure vehicle-generated data and requiring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop standards for how vehicle generated data necessary for repair can be accessed securely.
- Providing transparency for consumers by requiring vehicle owners be informed they can choose where and how to get their vehicle repaired.
- Creating a stakeholder advisory committee and providing them with the statutory authority to provide recommendations to the FTC on how to address emerging barriers to vehicle repair and maintenance.
- Providing ongoing enforcement by establishing a process for consumers and independent repair facilities to file complaints with the FTC regarding alleged violations of the requirements in the bill and a requirement that the FTC act within five months of a claim.
"When it comes to repairing their automobiles, consumers deserve options," Dunn said.
"The REPAIR Act would give owners, including the rural communities in my district, secure access to critical data so the service center of their choosing can replace parts and repair their vehicles. I am proud to support competition in the vehicle repair industry and this important legislation," he said.
"There are hundreds of neighborhood mechanics in Philadelphia," Boyle said. "The last thing those small business owners need is to be boxed out of making a living. This legislation would not only protect the business relationships between automobile owners and their mechanics, but it also ensures consumers continue to have more options on where to go for repairs."
Davidson added: "By prohibiting vehicle owners from accessing and sharing data they generate, manufacturers stop consumers from accessing third-party repair shops.
"American vehicle owners have a right to control their data, and a right to access third-party repair shops, tools and parts," he said.
"Working families in rural America can't afford to take a day off to drive their car to the dealership for a costly repair. The REPAIR Act is a bipartisan solution to improve vehicle data access laws to give working families more choices for repair when their car breaks down," Perez said.
"I appreciate Representatives Dunn, Boyle and Davidson for their leadership on this issue, and look forward to working in a bipartisan fashion to improve repair laws for families who work for a living."
The new bill is an attempt to make R2R a national issue after similar provisions were approved by Massachusetts voters in 2020.
In May 2021, the FTC released its Nixing the Fix report, which highlighted barriers that vehicle manufacturers have instituted to squash a consumer's right to repair. The FTC supports expanding consumer repair options and found "scant evidence" for repair restrictions imposed by original equipment manufacturers.
In July 2021, President Biden issued the "Promoting Competition in the American Economy" executive order that encouraged the FTC to address anti-competitive repair restrictions.
In December 2022, the Digital Fair Repair Act was signed into law by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The supporting associations said they are encouraging automotive aftermarket companies to contact the legislators in their districts to also co-sponsor the bill by visiting repairact.com.