April 15, 2004
The right to repair
U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering's constituents in the auto aftermarket of Meridian are all looking to him, hoping he will support legislation in the U.S. House and Senate that forces carmakers to hand over missing repair information.
Modern automobiles contain advanced technology that controls vehicle functions, including: braking, steering, air bags, fuel delivery, ignition, lubrication, emission controls and, soon, tire pressure. Carmakers withhold from car owners and independent repair shops access to the information, parts and tools to diagnose, repair or re-program these systems. This information is necessary to ensure vehicle safety, performance and environmental compliance.
Without access to such information, motorists are forced back to car companies, which may not be desirable to the car owner. Consumer surveys show that 70 percent of car owners prefer to go to independent repair shops. Eliminating consumer choice will restrict competition and lead to higher repair prices for everyone. It could also force motorists to delay necessary repairs, resulting in inefficient and unsafe vehicles.
Presently, a few vehicle manufacturers offer limited information on the Internet but at unreasonable prices. If independent auto service centers are required to purchase this information from each vehicle manufacturer at current prices, they won't be able to sustain the expense. This will give the car companies a competitive advantage and eventually a monopoly.
The Right to Repair Act, H.R. 2735 and S. 2138, ensures that all vehicle owners and independent service centers have full access to information to diagnose and repair vehicles. And, such legislation will not infringe on the manufacturer's proprietary information that is not available to franchised car dealerships.
The Right to Repair Act assures every vehicle owner a choice in repair and embraces the American free enterprise system. Tell Rep. Pickering to support this bill by logging on to www.righttorepair.org.
Vice Chairman, General Parts Inc.
Act of kindness
Thank you, kind stranger. Recently at the Wal-Mart SuperCenter, I lifted a sack containing a one-gallon can of baked beans. The can fell through the sack and the rim hit my toe.
When I removed my shoe it was already full of blood and my toe was bleeding heavily with no sign of letting up. Several Wal-Mart employees had gathered and were attempting to help me, but it was mass confusion.
It was an off-duty nurse in a checkout line who immediately took charge of my care. She had employees bring a chair, water, paper and cloth towels, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and bandages. She questioned me regarding allergies and current medications.
After she had applied a pressure bandage, Wal-Mart personnel transported me to an emergency room, where I received a few stitches.
I am grateful to the Wal-Mart employees for their consideration and assistance and I offer special gratitude to the kind stranger who unselfishly took the time and effort to come to my aid. I regret that I do not know your name but I thank you for your help.