OBD port remains open in UK Type Approval win

Published:  03 September, 2020

Ending years of concern over the status of the OBD port in a post-Brexit world, the Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed that the OBD port will by law remain open for repair and maintenance information (RMI), and that this information will be made available in an electronically processable format.

In a statement, the DfT said: “We can confirm that the definition of OBD in Article 3(49) of Regulation (EU) 2018/858 will be applied in the UK, as it is in the EU.”

The announcement has clarified what had become a progressively more opaque question about the implementation of Type Approval Regulation (EU) 2018/858. This legislation, which is set to become applicable this month (September 2020) will keep the OBD port open in the EU. However,  following the UK’s official departure from the EU in January 2020, a formal consultation by the UK government was required for this legislation to also be adopted here.

This uncertainty had made it one of the key pieces of legislation that the IAAF has lobbied for over the past few years. This was because, without legislation to guarantee it, there remained a risk that independent garages might find themselves locked out of the cars they are supposed to be working on.

The IAAF sought clarification on a number of fronts following the government’s publication of their findings on the new type approval consultation (EU) 2018/858.

IAAF questioned the definition of on-board diagnostics (OBD) in draft regulations and asked government to be less ambiguous about RMI data having to be made available in a format that is processable electronically. It also asked how security-related repair and maintenance information (SERMI) would be handled.

The DfT confirmed that under UK law, vehicles will be obliged to keep the OBD port open.

On the subject of SERMI, the DfT said:  “If the EU agree a Regulation and it applies prior to the end of the transition period, it will become part of Retained law in GB, possibly with some amendments to ensure it works in a GB context. If not, we will examine whether to introduce it into GB law in 2021, noting the comments received here that strongly support such introduction.”

Commenting  on the clarifications IAAF Chief Executive Wendy Williamson said: “For many years, IAAF has argued that a level playing field should be provided to ensure consumer freedom of choice when repairing and maintaining vehicles, campaigning for the provision of a standard diagnostic port.

“As a result of the consultation outcome, when issuing type approvals, VCA will be legally required to act in line with the ruling and manufacturers are also obliged to comply.

 “This is a huge step in the right direction for the independent automotive aftermarket and we’re thrilled that the legislative framework now ensures that independent operators can continue to service and maintain vehicles reliably and fairly. Not only is this good for competition, but it provides the consumer with freedom of choice when choosing where to take their vehicle for repair work.”

To read the consultation outcome in full go to https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/improving-new-vehicle-safety-and-environmental-compliance-plus-passenger-vehicle-digital-radio-requirement

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