Updated at 1:04 a.m. on Nov. 4
Massachusetts voters passed the state’s second right to repair ballot initiative on Tuesday, leading the nation again on policies to level the playing field between big auto-makers and small, independent mechanics.
The measure, labeled by advocates as an update to Massachusetts' 2012 right to repair law, enjoyed broad support across the commonwealth, according to unofficial results from the Associated Press. The AP declared the question approved just before 11 p.m.
The change means manufacturers that sell vehicles in Massachusetts must now provide wireless repair and maintenance data to car owners and their independent mechanics through an open source platform. The measure applies to vehicles made in model year 2022.
Advocates, who pointed to estimates that the vast majority of cars will have the capacity to transmit wireless data by 2022, said the measure keep auto-makers from withholding diagnostic data and cutting independent mechanics out of the repair industry.
Opponents said it will unnecessarily make car data more vulnerable to hackers.
Backers of the wireless vehicle data question declared victory almost an hour before their opponents conceded.
“By voting yes on 1, Massachusetts has now updated right to repair for the modern age of connected cars,” said Tommy Hickey, Right to Repair Coalition director in a video message to supporters.
In a brief email statement, opponents with the Coalition for Safe and Secure Data held fast to their argument against the measure and decried Question 1 as both hazardous and repetitive of the state’s 2012 right to repair ballot initiative.
“The right to repair and the ability of local repair shops to access vehicle repair information are already enshrined in Massachusetts law,” the statement said. “Today’s vote will do nothing to enhance that right – it will only grant real time, two-way access to your vehicle and increase risk.”
The campaigns for and against Question 1 were each waged with about $25 million from out of state companies and advocacy groups.
Massachusetts' 2012 law became a national framework for setting terms between manufacturers, repair shops and third-party diagnostic companies. In an interview with GBH News Tuesday night, Hickey said he anticipates this measure to have a similar impact.
“In Massachusetts, we were the first, we’ll be the first again [and] I do anticipate other states and the federal government taking a look at this, as well,” he said. “We expect that the car manufacturers will heed the will of the voters and create an open and standardized platform for these model year 2022 cars.”
Hickey also signaled an anticipated further struggle with the auto-industry to fully implement the law.
"The auto-makers and their army of lobbyists will make noise and make up stories saying it can't be done," he said. "Just like they did during the campaign, in fact, they said the same exact thing about the first right to repair in 2012."
“I think this is the beginning of a big fight in terms of what car manufacturers are collecting and how much consumers know about that,” he added.
State lawmakers who declined to act on a similar bill earlier this year have indicated the measure will likely need adjustments before going into effect.