Can Funeral Processions Proceed Through Red Lights?

(File photo by Kevin Payravi, Wikimedia Commons)

(File photo by Kevin Payravi, Wikimedia Commons)

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Do drivers in funeral processions have the right to go through red lights to stay in procession?

Eighty-two-year-old Billy Standley had his dying wish fulfilled when his kids built a giant plexiglas box for use as a casket so that his body could be displayed, decked out in his leather-clad motorcycle best, astride his Harley Davidson, having been prepared by 5 embalmers with metal backbrace and straps so his body would remain astride during the funeral procession. He wanted the world to see him ride off to heaven.

Unfortunately, those on the street couldn’t ride anywhere until the funeral procession finished. Is there a legal right for the funeral to go through lights in order to stay together? State laws vary, but in most states, at intersections, drivers in a funeral procession have the right to proceed through red lights provided that the lead vehicle in the procession started through the intersection while the light was green and so long as all the vehicles have their headlights lit, flashers on, and a flag or sticker indicating it’s part of the procession.

Even so, cars in the procession must yield to emergency vehicles whom one hopes aren’t racing to a motorcycle crash.

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