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U.S. Senator takes field trip for grassroots discussion on consumer choice, data access

Sen. Joni Ernst’s visit to Arnold Motor Supply opens conversation on the importance of access to vehicle repair data

Spencer, Iowa—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) met this month with leaders at Arnold Motor Supply to discuss the importance of affordable and reliable vehicle repair options for consumers, as well as aftermarket access to service and repair data.

“Access to vehicle diagnostic data is becoming one of the largest issues within our industry and it is starting to gain attention with the public at large,” said Eric Johnson, president and managing partner at Arnold Motor Supply. Ultimately this is a consumer choice issue. It is essential for local businesses to stay informed on policy issues, but also important to advocate and be proactive to help shape policy. It is valuable to be able to sit down with Senator Ernst and have a detailed conversation on issues important to us and our customers.”

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) introduced the “Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act” early last year. The legislation (H.R. 6570) will ensure the preservation of consumer choice, a fair marketplace, and the continued safe operation of the nation’s 288 million registered passenger and commercial motor vehicles, 70 percent of which are maintained by independent repair facilities.

The REPAIR Act will accomplish this by:

  • 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 that 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.

Government advocacy offices in aftermarket industry associations encourage aftermarket companies to invite their legislators to their facilities to educate and inform them on the importance of consumer choice for service and repair, as well as the industry’s need for access to vehicle repair data to successfully, and safely, service their customers’ cars.

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