Massachusetts Auto Coalition says Right to Repair poses safety risks

Jan. 1, 2020
The Massachusetts Auto Coalition (MAC) said passage of the Right to Repair bill could negatively impact motor vehicle safety in the Bay State. Passage of H.102/S.104 could compel the unrestricted and widespread disclosure of automakers' intellectual
The Massachusetts Auto Coalition (MAC) said passage of the Right to Repair bill could negatively impact motor vehicle safety in the Bay State. Passage of H.102/S.104 could compel the unrestricted and widespread disclosure of automakers' intellectual property and other confidential information, including information relating to safety-related parts and component design, which could be used to manufacture and distribute counterfeit parts, MAC said.

The production and sale of counterfeit parts is currently a $3 billion per year industry in the United States and a $12 billion per year industry globally. Strong intellectual property protections are critical to combating the proliferation of counterfeit parts in the marketplace, and such legislation will weaken the protective measures automakers take to thwart piracy of their intellectual property. Counterfeit parts are of inferior quality, ill-suited for their intended purpose, may be produced with dangerous and substandard materials, and have a shorter-than- average service life.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number and rate of traffic fatalities in 2010 fell to the lowest levels since 1949, despite a significant increase in the number of miles driven during the year. Passage of H.102/S.104 could adversely impact this trend through the proliferation of counterfeit parts in the repair market.

“Counterfeit parts are a serious threat to the motoring public,” said Jamie Godfrey, owner of Godfrey Auto in Easton, Massachusetts and a “Right to Repair” bill opponent. “We constantly are monitoring product quality and rejecting counterfeit parts. My fear is that this bill could unintentionally lead to even more substandard and inferior parts flooding the market.”

Motor vehicles today consist of complex safety-related components that are designed to work together as an integrated safety system moments before a crash. Vehicles use an integrated network system to analyze data and provide passengers with the best protection possible.

For example, the airbag deployment module is directly integrated into the entire car system. New technology enables the car’s computer to know when a passenger sits on the seat, and the weight and the height of that passenger, and at what height it should deploy the airbag in the case of an accident.

The use of counterfeit parts – such as air bag mechanisms and brake, suspension, steering, and engine components – could compromise the structural integrity, performance, and safety of a motor vehicle. The inferior performance and outright failure of counterfeit parts could result in sudden, catastrophic engine failure, brake failure, or other system malfunction. This could lead to crashes and the failure of complex safety restraint systems designed to protect motorists involved in crashes, resulting in injury and loss of life.

New motor vehicles and equipment, like an airbag deployment system, are subject to stringent safety performance standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and automakers must certify that their products comply with applicable safety standards.



Counterfeit parts do not undergo the rigorous and state and federal regulated safety testing to validate their operability and structural integrity. In fact, aftermarket part makers often reuse non- deployed airbags from cars that are totaled in crashes.

Passage of H.102/S.104 could lead to increase availability of untested and non-regulated counterfeit parts that may fail to comply with automakers’ specifications and crash-test performance requirements, or other industry-accepted safety standards, MAC said.

“The use of counterfeit parts poses a serious safety risk that endangers motorists and pedestrians,” said Dan Gage, spokesman for the Massachusetts Auto Coalition. “Counterfeit parts are often substandard and produced with inferior materials, putting lives at risk. Their use may also negatively impact vehicle improvements designed to increase fuel economy and reduce vehicle emissions released into the environment.”

Sponsored Recommendations

Best Body Shop and the 360-Degree-Concept

Spanesi ‘360-Degree-Concept’ Enables Kansas Body Shop to Complete High-Quality Repairs

How Fender Bender Operator of the Year, Morrow Collision Center, Achieves Their Spot-On Measurements

Learn how Fender Bender Operator of the Year, Morrison Collision Center, equipped their new collision facility with “sleek and modern” equipment and tools from Spanesi Americas...

ADAS Applications: What They Are & What They Do

Learn how ADAS utilizes sensors such as radar, sonar, lidar and cameras to perceive the world around the vehicle, and either provide critical information to the driver or take...

Banking on Bigger Profits with a Heavy-Duty Truck Paint Booth

The addition of a heavy-duty paint booth for oversized trucks & vehicles can open the door to new or expanded service opportunities.