"REPAIR Act" Bill is Overbroad
Legislation Would Regulate Trucks, Despite No Application to the Consumer Market
Advocates for “right to repair” legislation claim that independent automotive repair shops do not have access to the parts or data necessary to repair vehicles. However, this concern was rectified years ago, and today the information independent shops need to repair vehicles is readily available from every truck and auto manufacturer. The latest iteration of “right to repair” legislation (H.R. 906) has little to do with repairing a vehicle. Instead, the bill compels truck and auto manufacturers to provide any “aftermarket parts manufacturer” the information necessary “to produce or offer compatible aftermarket parts,” i.e., parts not made by the truck or auto manufacturer. This legislation would also give any third-party access to sensitive truck buyer data from vehicles, which raises privacy, vehicle security, and automotive safety concerns. This bill regulates only vehicles and does not apply to other equipment or consumer products such as farm equipment or mobile phones. Members of Congress should oppose H.R. 906.
America’s truck dealers have made investments over decades to ensure the proper servicing of commercial medium- and heavy-duty trucks, including the purchase of tools, special equipment and employee training. From a retail heavy-duty trucking perspective, there are numerous concerns with this legislation. First, H.R. 906 treats the servicing of medium- and heavy-duty trucks the same as a light-duty vehicle, which is a misplaced assumption as the vehicles truck dealers sell are not sold to individual consumers, but to businesses.
Additionally, most medium- and heavy-duty trucks purchased are custom-built for specific purposes, unlike light-duty vehicles, which are mass produced for the general public. H.R. 906 would regulate light-duty vehicles the same as medium- and heavy-duty trucks, school buses, and cement mixers, which are not bought by consumers. Also, the bill ignores that commercial medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, unlike most light duty vehicles, are serviced on a maintenance schedule.
H.R. 906 is similar to a 2020 Massachusetts law passed by ballot initiative that is under review by a federal court and has never been enforced. One of the flaws in this law requires new vehicles to be equipped with an “open data platform.” However, since heavy-duty trucks are designed years in advance, the data platform this law required by 2022 does not yet exist.
This legislation has little to do with repairing a vehicle. Instead, the main purpose of H.R. 906 is to compel truck and auto manufacturers to provide any “aftermarket parts manufacturer” the information necessary “to produce or offer compatible aftermarket parts,” i.e., parts not made by the truck manufacturer.
The bill is overbroad. H.R. 906 regulates school buses, cement mixers, and medium- and heavy-duty trucks the same as light duty vehicles. However, the vehicles truck dealerships sell are not sold to consumers.
H.R. 906 creates new privacy, vehicle security and safety risks. The information that the bill would force manufacturers to release creates serious privacy, data security and vehicle safety risks. For example, the bill mandates that motor vehicle manufacturers provide to any person the vehicle owner designates all the “vehicle-generated” data unconditionally, which may include sensitive, private information.
H.R. 906 was introduced by Reps. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.), Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Wash.) and referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Last year, the ATD Board of Line Representatives sent a letter to House Energy and Commerce leaders opposing a nearly identical previous version of this legislation. Members of Congress are urged not to cosponsor H.R. 906.