Amendments to EU Requirements on Access to Repair and Maintenance Information Proposed
Ever since the European Union Regulations on emissions first mandated the fitment of onboard diagnostic (OBD) systems to motor vehicles, they have included requirements on access to repair and maintenance information (RMI). Basically, the emissions Regulations require that vehicle manufacturers provide independent operators with access to the same information required for the diagnosis, servicing, inspection, periodic monitoring, repair, re-programming or re-initialising of their vehicles, as they provide to their own authorised dealers and repairers. The main aim of this requirement is to ensure fair competition in the market for the servicing and repair of motor vehicles, by preventing the vehicle manufacturer's authorised dealers and repairers from having a monopoly in this market.
When the RMI requirements were first introduced, they merely required that vehicle manufacturers provide this information "in accordance with industry standards which provide for a maximum level of harmonisation in the motor industry". However, when EU Regulation No. 715/2007, which introduced the Euro 5 and Euro 6 light duty vehicle emissions requirements, was published, it specified the format for the RMI information in more detail. (EU) No. 715/2007 specifically required that the RMI information be made available in accordance with the format developed by the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) specifically for this purpose. At the same time, the European Commission tasked the International Standards Organisation (ISO) with developing an official standard on the format for such repair and maintenance information based on the OASIS format.
The new standard that ISO developed to meet this requirement, ISO 18541, is formed of seven separate parts and, although work on some of these parts is still ongoing, the main parts of the standard have now been finalised and published. Therefore, the European Commission feel that it is now appropriate to update the emissions Regulations to require that all RMI information be made available in accordance with the technical specifications of ISO 18541.
Another issue that came to light, following the original implementation of the RMI requirements, related to the access to information relating to the security features within the vehicle. To avoid the RMI requirements being utilised by criminals to allow them to bypass the vehicle's security features, it was recognised that additional checks on independent operators would be necessary before they were permitted access to information related to the vehicle's security features. To address this situation, (EU) No. 715/2007 established a Forum on Access to Vehicle Information to review this situation and make recommendations on how to address this issue.
As a result of the work undertaken by the Forum on Access to Vehicle Information, an independent association called the Forum for Access to Security Related Vehicle Repair and Maintenance Information (SERMI) was established, and a secure scheme for the accreditation, approval and authorisation of independent operators requiring access to vehicle security features, known as the SERMI scheme, was developed. Following the validation of this scheme by the European Co-operation for Accreditation, the European Commission are proposing to mandate compliance with this scheme within the relevant emissions Regulations.
At a Technical Committee - Motor Vehicles (TCMV) meeting on 11th May 2017, the European Commission presented draft amending Regulations to update the RMI requirements in both the light duty vehicle and heavy duty vehicle Regulations, to mandate compliance with ISO 18541 and the SERMI scheme. It is proposed that compliance with the updated RMI requirements would become mandatory two years after the Regulations are published in the Official Journal of the European Union which, according to the European Commission’s estimated timescales, would lead to a mandatory introduction date of March 2020.