1998 Regular Session
To: Highways and Transportation
By: Senator(s) Gollott, Woodfield
Senate Bill 2579
(As Passed the Senate)
AN ACT TO CREATE CERTAIN PROTECTIONS FOR FUNERAL PROCESSIONS; TO ENACT DEFINITIONS; TO PRESCRIBE REGULATIONS; TO REQUIRE CERTAIN SAFETY MEASURES; TO PRESCRIBE A PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO YIELD THE RIGHT-OF-WAY TO A VEHICLE IN A FUNERAL PROCESSION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) For the purposes of this section, the following words shall have the meanings ascribed herein unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
(a) "Funeral procession" means two (2) or more vehicles accompanying the body of a deceased person, or traveling to the church, chapel or other location at which the funeral service is to be held, in the daylight hours, including a funeral lead vehicle or a funeral escort vehicle.
(b) "Funeral lead vehicle" means any authorized law enforcement or non-law enforcement motor vehicle properly equipped pursuant to subsection (2) of this section or a funeral escort vehicle being used to lead and facilitate the movement of a funeral procession. A funeral hearse may serve as a funeral lead vehicle.
(c) "Funeral escort vehicle" means any motor vehicle that is properly equipped pursuant to subsection (2) of this section and which escorts a funeral procession.
(2) (a) All non-law enforcement funeral escort vehicles and funeral lead vehicles other than a hearse shall be equipped with at least one (1) lighted circulation lamp exhibiting an amber light or lens visible under normal atmospheric conditions for a distance of five hundred (500) feet from the front of the vehicle. Flashing amber lights may be used only when such vehicles are used in a funeral procession.
(b) Any law enforcement funeral escort vehicle may be equipped with red, blue or amber flashing lights which meet the criteria established in paragraph (a).
(3) (a) Regardless of any traffic control device or right-of-way provisions prescribed by state or local ordinance, pedestrians and operators of all vehicles, except as stated in paragraph (c), shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which is part of a funeral procession being led by a funeral escort vehicle or a funeral lead vehicle.
(b) When the funeral lead vehicle lawfully enters an intersection, either by reason of a traffic control device or at the direction of law enforcement personnel, the remaining vehicles in the funeral procession may follow through the intersection regardless of any traffic control devices or right-of-way provisions prescribed by state or local law.
(c) Funeral processions shall have the right-of-way at intersections regardless of traffic control devices, subject to the following conditions and exceptions:
(i) Operators of vehicles in a funeral procession shall yield the right-of-way to an approaching emergency vehicle giving an audible or visible signal.
(ii) Operators of vehicles in a funeral procession shall yield the right-of-way when directed to do so by a police officer.
(iii) Operators of vehicles in a funeral procession must exercise due care when participating in a funeral procession.
(4) (a) All vehicles comprising a funeral procession shall follow the preceding vehicle in the funeral procession as closely as is practical and safe.
(b) Any ordinance, law or regulation stating that motor vehicles shall be operated to allow sufficient space enabling any other vehicle to enter and occupy such space without danger shall not be applicable to vehicles in a funeral procession.
(c) Each vehicle which is part of a funeral procession shall have its headlights, either high or low beam, and tail lights lighted and may also use the flashing hazard lights if the vehicle is so equipped.
(5) Any person who fails to yield the right-of-way to a vehicle which is a part of a funeral procession as required in subsection (3)(a) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in an amount not to exceed Twenty-five Dollars ($25.00).
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.