2011-02-03 / Letters

Ask Drivers To Extend CourtesyTo Funeral Processions

To The Editor,

One of the last things that we as funeral directors can do during the transition from this world into the next is the funeral procession from the funeral home or the church to the cemetery. Most of the time the procession goes smoothly, and we all arrive safe at the destination. It seems some motorists do not know what a vehicle with two funeral flags on the hood, a flashing yellow light on the roof and a hearse following signifies. We apologize for the inconvenience that this may cause some people during the course of their busy day. Most people, however, do know what this signifies and they give us the right-of-way. We have even seen people pull off the side of the road until we go past or someone outside working stop what they are doing and take their hat off until we go past. (Wow, how can someone be more respectful than that!)

The next time you see a funeral procession and are in a hurry to go somewhere, please think about the treatment you would expect if you were in that procession. What if that was your mom, your dad, your son, your daughter, your grandmother, your grandfather, etc.? How would you expect other motorists to act? Would you expect them to communicate with you by the shaking of fists, throwing their arms up in disgust because they have to wait, and, yes, we have even seen rude gestures on occasion. Some motorists, though they don’t give the rude gestures, they just drive around you on the berm of the road and do not yield the rightof way. We believe most of us would expect them to wait patiently with respect until the procession goes past.

Again we apologize for any delay caused in your travels, if you happen to be passed by one of our processions. All that is being asked is a little common courtesy extended to your fellow man. It isn’t hard and doesn’t cost anything but a little bit of time.

The law regarding funeral processions reads as follows:

ยง 3107. Drivers in funeral processions.

(a) General rule. The driver of a vehicle which is being driven in a funeral procession may:

(1) Park or stand irrespective of the provisions of this part.

(2) Proceed past a red signal indication or stop sign if the lead vehicle in the procession started through the intersection while the signal indicator was green or, in the case of a stop sign, the lead vehicle first came to a complete stop before proceeding through the intersection.

(b) Visual signals required. The privileges granted by this section shall apply only if each vehicle in the funeral procession displays lighted head lamps and emergency flashers and bears a flag or other insignia designating it as part of a funeral procession.

(c) Right-of-way to emergency vehicles. This section does not relieve the driver of a vehicle which is being driven in a funeral procession from yielding the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle making use of audible and visual signals, nor from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons.

(Aug. 5, 1991, P.L.238, No.26, eff. imd.; June 26, 2001, P.L.734, No.75, eff. 60 days)

Darrin Smith,
Jason Shives
Funeral Directors
Howard L. Sipes Funeral
Home Inc.

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