Is It Illegal To Cut Off A Funeral Procession In New York State?
A tough subject to agree on. Or is it? The topic is funeral processions. We've all been stuck behind one or held up at an intersection where a procession is slowly travelling through even though the traffic signal is green in your direction.
Most of us are trying to get from point A to point B, C or whatever, quickly on a daily basis, and any interruption to our travels like slow moving vehicles in front of us or in the passing lane for example, raises our blood pressure.
But back to the subject at hand. Is it illegal to cut off a funeral procession in New York State? Well, according to the website Certified Safety Training -
There are no (New York) state laws governing funeral processions, however, the state’s Vehicle and Traffic Laws do not provide any exceptions to following traffic control signals, except in the case of emergency vehicles. If a funeral procession is granted the ability to disobey traffic signals, there must be a traffic officer present to regulate traffic. Vinci v. Charney, 80 N.Y.S.2d 521 (N.Y. 1948).
So no, it's not illegal to cut off a funeral procession in New York State, but it's more of a courtesy to let the mourners proceed by without interruption. Of course there's no law that technically allows you to run a red light or stop sign either that I could find.
The New York State legislature has tried to pass a law a few times that would give a funeral procession the right of way and fine the driver of a vehicle who forced their way into the procession, a fine, but each time the bill fizzled out.
By the way, if you are in a funeral procession, it's best to have your headlights on, blinkers flashing, and if the funeral home has flags available to place on the hood of your vehicle, that's a good idea as well.
Some may contend that those in the funeral procession are not in a hurry, so what the problem with cutting them off when the light is in your favor or it's your turn to pass through that four way stop?
Others may say that it's possible there are persons in the procession who get cut off from the rest of the vehicles, are not familiar with the directions to the cemetery. Maybe they are not from the area and are depending on the vehicles in the funeral procession in front of them to guide the way.
And then someone may contend that's the reason we have GPS available to help us find our way to a destination. For many of us, sure it's an inconvenience, but for those in the funeral procession, well, they are having a worse day than we are.