ACA Responds to Mass. Telematics Ballot Question

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July 28, 2020—Representatives from the Auto Care Association and its membership met with James Owens, deputy administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), on Friday, July 24, to discuss the data access referendum that will be included as “Question 1” on the ballot for Massachusetts voters this November, according to a press release.

A vote in favor of Question 1 would give Massachusetts vehicle owners the ability to access their mechanical data and to provide authorization to share that data with their independent repair shops. According to the release, the meeting focused on a July 20 letter the NHTSA sent to Massachusetts state legislators echoing the disagreement of automakers that access to data by vehicle owners would create cyber security concerns.

Auto Care Association President and CEO Bill Hanvey took issue with the agency releasing the letter without first approaching the association to address its concerns, also stating that the NHTSA's letter was being used by vehicle manufacturers to unnecessarily scare Massachusett votes from supporting Question 1 on the ballot.

During the meeting with NHTSA, Auto Care representatives discussed the importance of data access to ensure car owners continue to have choices in where they have their vehicle repaired. Auto Care cyber security and diagnostic tool experts shared how data can be shared cyber-securely, and pointed out that industry standards developed by vehicle engineers around the world are already in place that would permit owners to control access to their mechanical data. 

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