"REPAIR Act" Bill is Overbroad

Published June 12, 2022

Legislation Would Regulate Trucks, Despite No Application to the Consumer Market

 

ISSUE
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 or auto manufacturer. Unlike previous “right to repair” bills, this legislation (H.R. 6570) has little to do with repairing a vehicle. Instead, the main purpose of the bill is to compel truck or 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 unfettered access to data from vehicles, which raises numerous privacy, vehicle security, and safety concerns. Members of Congress should oppose H.R. 6570.

BACKGROUND

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. 6570 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. 6570 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 are serviced by qualified and highly trained technicians on a maintenance schedule. With very few exceptions, these trucks cannot be serviced at a gas station.
 

H.R. 6570 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.


KEY POINTS

  • This legislation has little to do with repairing a vehicle. Instead, the main purpose of H.R. 6570 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. 6570 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. 6570 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.
STATUS
H.R. 6570 was introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. On March 23, the ATD Board of Line Representatives sent a letter to House Energy and Commerce leaders in opposition to H.R. 6570. Members of Congress are urged not to cosponsor H.R. 6570.