Right to Repair legislation to cover future tech reintroduced in Congress

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, Feb. 10, 2023:

Right to Repair legislation reintroduced in Congress

Bipartisan legislation that would allow consumers and independent repair facilities to continue to repair commercial vehicles as vehicle technology advances has been introduced in the U.S. House.

The Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act was introduced Thursday, Feb. 9. It had previously been introduced last Congress in 2022, but no action was taken on it.

The reintroduced legislation, according to a summary by the Auto Care Association (ACA), “would preserve consumer access to high quality and affordable vehicle repair by ensuring that as vehicles continue to modernize, vehicle owners and their repairer of choice have equal access to repair and maintenance tools and data.”

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Neal Dunn (R-Florida) with Reps. Brendan Boyle (D-Pennsylvania), Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Washington) signing on as co-sponsors.

"By prohibiting vehicle owners from accessing and sharing data they generate, manufacturers stop consumers from accessing third-party repair shops,” Rep. Davidson said. “American vehicle owners have a right to control their data, and a right to access third-party repair shops, tools and parts.”

During Heavy-Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) held in January, the Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) said the time is right for a federal Right to Repair bill. The truck and bus industries have been operating under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) since 2015.

[Related: Owner-operators navigate rocky truck parts procurement landscape]

Ann Wilson, senior vice president of government affairs for MEMA, and Lisa Forshee, senior vice president of government affairs with the Auto Care Association (ACA), said at HDAW that the existing MOU doesn’t cover telematics, nor does it cover future developments in technology, which is problematic as trucks get more high-tech and complex with each passing model year. If the data is being blocked, technicians, shops and other businesses can’t get the information needed to repair, maintain and create parts.

“Current law is inadequate to address growing competitive concerns created by new technology, and the Act would seek to resolve current and future issues that prevent consumers and independent repair shops from being able to fully maintain and repair modern vehicles, while ensuring cybersecurity for critical vehicle systems,” ACA added in its summary.

According to recent Overdrive research, nearly 30% of readers use an independent shop for maintenance, and without a federal Right to Repair law, those shops may not be able to work on newer trucks.

In the past, Right to Repair has been fought on the state level. A federal law would be stronger than any state law or the MOU, and Wilson said it would cover privacy, cybersecurity and transportation issues across the board. --Beth Colvin, associate editor with Truck, Parts, Service, contributed to this report

[Related: FTC cracking down on 'right to repair' violations]

Mental health, personal security online courses for truckers now available

CarriersEdge, a provider of online driver training for the trucking industry, recently added new courses that address mental health challenges for truck drivers and personal security issues that drivers may encounter on the road.

One new course, “Mental Health,” is designed to increase awareness about mental health challenges and provides drivers with solutions to improve their mental well-being on the road. After completing the course, drivers will be able to:

  • Explain the difference between good mental health and mental illness
  • List the mental health challenges that commonly affect professional drivers
  • Describe how lifestyle choices can affect mental health
  • List methods to support good mental health on the road

CarriersEdge’s other new course, “Personal Security,” is designed to help increase a driver’s awareness about personal security threats and provide information on what to do if a driver finds themself in a dangerous situation. At the end of this course, drivers will be able to:

  • Recognize various situations that pose a threat to their personal security
  • Describe methods thieves can use to target their load
  • Explain why cargo theft is difficult to prevent
  • Explain how to protect themselves at each stage of the delivery process
  • Describe how to de-escalate potentially threatening situations

“Mental Health” and “Personal Security” are now available to CarriersEdge customers at no extra charge, as part of the CarriersEdge subscription service.