The gist

This citizen’s initiative would require vehicles to have standardized on-board diagnostics systems and allow owners and independent repair facilities to access those diagnostics.

Ballot question

Do you want to require vehicle manufacturers to standardize on-board diagnostic systems and provide remote access to those systems and mechanical data to owners and independent repair facilities?1

Yes means No means
I want vehicle owners and repair facilities to have access to standardized vehicle diagnostics. I don't want vehicle owners and repair facilities to have access to standardized vehicle diagnostics.

Tell me more

New vehicles would have to use standardized telematics (wireless) diagnostic systems and won’t have to provide access to security systems. The provision will also give vehicle owners and independent repair shops the right to sue manufacturers that don’t comply with the law.2

The requirements for access to diagnostics will depend on the model year of the vehicle: 2

  • 2018 or later: Vehicles will be required to have diagnostics that can be accessed using a personal computer.
  • 2002 - 2017: Owners and independent repair shops must be given the same access to diagnostics as are available to new vehicle dealers.
  • 2002 - Manufacturers must make available to owners and independent repair shops with the same tools they provide to new vehicle dealers.
  • Prior to 2002 - No requirements for these vehicles.

Massachusetts is currently the only state with a similar law. 3

This question is a citizen’s initiative, which is a way for Mainers to propose new laws. In order to become a valid initiative, a petition supporting the initiative must collect over 60,000 signatures.

Follow the money

It is estimated that the Attorney General’s office will have to spend around $65,000 annually to process lawsuits related to this initiative. 2


The primary arguments for this referendum are:

  • It would allow vehicle owners the ability to choose who repairs their vehicles.
  • Many newer cars only send diagnostic information to the manufacturer or authorized dealers.


The primary arguments against this referendum are:

  • It could open up data vehicle owners don’t want to have in the hands of a repair shop. 4
  • It could open up cybersecurity threats. 4

Who cares 3


  • Consumer Access to Repair Coalition
  • Repair Association


  • The Alliance for Automotive Innovation
  • The Automotive Service Association

Further reading

Full Text
Ballotpedia Article
Portland Press Herald Article


  1. Maine Secretary of State. An Act Regarding Automotive Right to Repair. Accessed October 6, 2023. 

  2. Bellows, Shenna. Maine Citizen’s Guide to the Referendum Election. Accessed October 6, 2023.  2 3

  3. Ballotpedia State Desk. Maine Question 4, “Right to Repair Law” Vehicle Data Access Requirement Initiative (2023). Ballotpedia. Accessed October 6, 2023.  2

  4. Neufeld, Kay. Question 4: What you need to know about the right-to-repair referendum. Portland Press Herald. Accessed October 6, 2023.  2