During my wait I was taken aback by the rude behavior of other drivers. The driver behind me impatiently blew her horn when the light turned green. She obviously didn’t see the procession or just didn’t care. The only thing on her mind was that I move out of the way. Another driver tried to be clever and pass my car and the others sitting idle behind me only to come to a screeching halt when he saw the procession.
What could be so important that would prevent these folks from showing respect for the dearly departed?
Later that night, I did some research on funeral processions. I learned that in most states there are laws pertaining to processions, which require motorists to yield. The rules also apply to the procession itself, and include things like observing traffic lights and requiring participants in the procession to drive with their headlights on. Although some processions have police escorts, they are not required.
I found several news stories from across the country about funeral processions causing accidents.
According to AAA, more than half of the six people killed in 2011 were police officers escorting processions. It would seem the public is losing patience with this long-standing tradition.
Earlier this month, the San Jose Mercury News got an earful from readers unhappy with recent traffic disruptions for the funeral of a slain Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer.
San Jose resident Charles Lindsey demanded a valid explanation from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, not “Suck it up, commuters – at least you’re still alive.” Another unhappy commuter thought MTC’s remarks were very condescending. “A cop died, so the hell with the public. We’ll inconvenience thousands of freeway users so that a funeral procession can be held.”
Police officers defended the disruptions, calling readers’ comments “insensitive” and suggesting they “get over themselves and show some respect.”
Although processions are meant to show respect for the dearly departed and their grieving family and friends, I personally think they’re an accident waiting to happen. Many people just don’t give the respect to funeral processions they once did and cut in-between cars in the procession.
What do you think? Should mourners simply meet at the burial site instead?
Until next time…