Kansas City Townsend Law Firm

What are the rules for funeral processions?

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2017 | Car Accident

When a loved one passes away, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made. Whether you’re closely involved with the service or paying your respect as a guest, attending a funeral can be a deeply emotional experience. As the service concludes and emotions are high, you’re tasked with the responsibility of safely driving from the service to the burial site. This can be particularly stressful to those in the funeral procession, the one who is in the lead vehicle, and other motorists on the road.

Police officers or other officials from the police department can be involved with the organized funeral procession, and use their motor vehicles to escort the funeral procession to the burial grounds from the funeral services, and usually will coordinate with the funeral director and funeral home to make the process as efficient as possible.

You have probably been on the roadway when a funeral procession passes by. We often field questions from people wondering what the rules and state laws are for the operator of each vehicle involved in the funeral procession in Kansas City. This can be a complicated question to answer. At Townsend Law LLC, our car accident attorneys in Kansas City want to discuss the laws surrounding vehicles involved in funeral processions. If you were involved in an accident with a funeral procession vehicle, you may need to call us today to discuss compensation.

Traveling To The Burial Site, How Will Everyone Know Where To Go?

Once the service has ended, you will then travel from the funeral home, church or another place of worship to the burial site where the deceased will be laid to rest. When traveling to the burial site, there will be a lead vehicle (usually a hearse or other such vehicle) which everyone will follow behind, with flashing emergency lights, purple lights or other lighting for safety on the road.

The lead vehicle in a funeral procession must be appropriately marked with a flashing purple or amber light or use alternating flashing headlamps. Promptly following the lead vehicle will be immediate family members, relatives, and close friends. This is what’s known as a funeral procession.

Missouri, along with most other states, has its own legal requirements for following in a funeral procession and for other drivers who must yield to one. Having law enforcement officers involved in the procession, using traffic control devices to control the flow of the procession through red lights and intersections, and using the right-of-way at stop signs to keep the motor vehicles moving.

Missouri Laws For Vehicles Involved In A Funeral Procession

The lead vehicle in a funeral procession must be marked appropriately with flashing purple or amber lights or use alternating flashing headlights to fulfill the requirement for flashing emergency lights. Right behind the lead vehicle, there should be immediate family members, relatives, and close friends of the deceased in their motor vehicle. In some cases, funeral processions are assisted by local law enforcement officers (but this is not always the case).

If you’re following in funeral procession, always make sure to:

  • Ride as closely behind the preceding vehicle as is safe and practical under the given conditions.
  • Turn on your head and tail lamps, flash emergency lights and utilize flags or special lights (when provided).
  • Follow the lead vehicle after they have lawfully entered into an intersection. You are permitted to follow the procession through a red lighted intersection as long as the lead vehicle entered lawfully. Please practice extreme caution when doing so.
  • Be mindful and attentive to pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers sharing the road and use visual signals when needed
  • Yield and make way for all approaching emergency vehicles.

Missouri Laws For Vehicles That Encounter A Funeral Procession

When you’re driving and happen upon a funeral procession, traffic laws are as follows:

  • All other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians must yield the right-of-way to any vehicles involved with the procession.
  • Funeral processions have priority even after a light has signaled red; all vehicles not involved must wait for the procession to finish crossing before entering the intersection.
  • It is illegal to join a funeral procession in an attempt to gain the right-of-way.
  • Do not drive between or disrupt vehicles participating in a funeral procession, unless instructed to do so by law enforcement or other emergency vehicles.
  • Attempting to pass a vehicle taking part in a funeral procession is unlawful unless a passing lane has been specifically provided.

Not only is it disrespectful to attempt to join a funeral procession to gain the right-of-way, but it is illegal. Regardless whether the procession is traveling with your direction, or in the opposite direction, understand that funeral processions are allowed. If those in the funeral procession are following the laws, you have no right to disrupt, join, attempt an overtaking, or other motor vehicle maneuvers.

We Will Help You After A Car Accident

Funerals are thankfully not a common occurrence for most people, but not knowing the funeral procession laws is no excuse. Understanding what to do at red lights, red signals, stop signs, intersections, passing lanes, right-of-way, and all of the state laws that motorists must follow when encountering an organized funeral procession is important to protect not only the family members in the funeral procession, but the law enforcement officers and other motorists on the road.

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a vehicle accident that was caused by a funeral procession, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The team at Townsend Law LLC is going to get to work investigating this case in order to secure any compensation you may be entitled to. This could include:

  • Coverage of your crash-related medical bills
  • Compensation for lost income if you cannot work
  • Mental anguish damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life damages

We will work with all parties involved, including funeral homes and law enforcement agencies, in order to determine what happened. When you need a car accident lawyer in Kansas City, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 816-408-6516.