It is interesting to note that regardless of the vehicle code in a particular state, funeral escorts in some cities or counties frequently collide with local law enforcement. The resentment may run deep enough that the police have even arrested funeral escorts for posing as a law enforcement officer (in Texas, for example). On the other hand, some communities use trained community assistants, rather than police officers, for funeral escort service. This frees up officers so they can perform regular policing duties.
Regardless of local tensions, specific laws and rules apply to funeral processions. In California, for example:
Treat funeral processions with respect
By the way, woe to the non-hearse motorist in another parallel lane, who does not stop at a red light or stop sign before passing through it at the same time as the procession! If your vehicle does not display that company’s funeral decal, it might be a good idea to stop and park where allowed, until the funeral procession has passed. But look in your rear view and side mirrors for high speed motorcycle escort relays coming up behind you, before you make a move. Then change lanes or turn safely onto a side street away from the procession.
Drivers in the funeral procession must be extremely careful to avoid colliding with other motor vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians, or stray animals, and must not exceed the speed limit for a particular road. Be prepared for lots of high-pitched whistles from the escorts, as well as voice commands.
If you can’t attend the burial in the cemetery after the funeral service, you might get caught in the funeral procession anyway. At times, the escorts can make it difficult or impossible for any vehicle to exit the morgue or church parking lot before the hearse leaves first. If that’s the case, everyone is funneled into a long line of cars and you can’t get out of it, even when you’re on the road. So plan longer than expected when attending a funeral. You may also want to park on the street, so you don’t have to negotiate with a funeral escort inside the parking lot.
© 2006 Shirley Ann Parker