Funeral Processions

The actions of drivers involved in a funeral procession, and what motorists are to do when they encounter a funeral procession, are covered by state law and municipal ordinance. Vehicles involved in a funeral procession are allowed to disregard some traffic laws as long as they do so with the highest degree of care and safety. Springfield Municipal Ordinances #106-195 and #106-196 cover funeral processions. Listed below are the requirements/responsibilities for all vehicles for funeral processions.

Funeral procession lead vehicles need to be properly marked. That means they must exhibit a rotating/flashing amber or purple light, or alternating flashing headlamps (visible for 500 feet from the front of the car). A hearse or coach properly equipped may be a lead vehicle. Vehicles involved in the procession are required to follow these standards:

(a) All vehicles in an organized funeral procession shall follow the preceding vehicle in the procession as closely as is practical and safe under the conditions.
(b) No person shall operate any vehicle as part of an organized funeral procession without the flashing emergency lights of such vehicle being lighted.
(c) When the lead vehicle in an organized funeral procession lawfully enters
an intersection*, all vehicles in the procession shall follow the lead vehicle through the intersection.
*The lead vehicle must first stop at the stop sign, or red signal, then proceed when safe to do so or the signal turns green.
(d) The operator of each vehicle in the procession shall exercise the highest degree of care toward any other vehicle or pedestrian on the roadway.
(e) Operators of vehicles in an organized funeral procession shall yield the right of
way to any approaching emergency vehicle, or when directed to do so by a law enforcement officer.

Vehicles that encounter a funeral procession on the roadway are to follow these standards:

(a) Pedestrians and operators of all other vehicles shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which is a part of an organized funeral procession.
(b) Not drive between the vehicles comprising an organized funeral procession, except when required to do so by a law enforcement officer, or when such person is operating an emergency vehicle giving an audible or visual signal.
(c) Join a funeral procession for the purpose of securing the right-of-way.
(d) Shall not attempt to pass any vehicle in an organized funeral procession, except where a passing lane has been specifically provided.
(e) When an organized funeral procession is proceeding through a red signal light as
permitted in section 106-195, a vehicle not in the organized funeral procession shall not enter the intersection unless such vehicle may do so without crossing the path of the funeral procession.

(The above is a paraphrase of Municipal Code sections #106-195 and #106-196.)


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