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  • Sirens for funeral escort?

    A poster here (he has now deleted his post) claims he NEEDS a siren for the company where he works, that does funeral escorts. Now, I have NEVER seen (heard) anyone doing funerals escorts (other than for an LEO or FF) use a siren.

    Is a funeral considered an emergency in your jurisdiction?

    I can certainly respect the grieving family, and will give them the right of way, but sirens?

    Or, have I lead a sheltered life?
    "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
    John Stuart Mill

  • #2
    I like pie.............
    Last edited by Nobody; 10-08-2009, 09:17 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Unfortunately, they do use sirens here- and even allow the funeral homes to operate their own "escort" vehicles with red lights and sirens (for an extra charge to the family of course).

      I came across one of these earlier today and they always get me worked up. The "escort"- who has no police powers under law to control traffic- threw his sedan into an intersection against a stop light and held up traffic for the first few cars of the procession- then took off again leaving traffic uncontrolled. The light changed but the traffic kept going through against the light - resulting in a big traffic mess. I turned around and went the other direction.

      Unfortunately, it will probably take someone getting killed here to change this practice. State law clearly says that vehicles using lights / siren have to be serving "an emergency governmental function." However, the local PD doesn't want to do escorts, so they have allowed this to take place.
      ---Cut the red wire---

      Comment


      • #4
        Sirens are permitted on Authorized Emergency Vehicles ONLY in California. Funeral escort motorcycles or vehicles do not fall within the definition of CA laws as AEVs. However, if the funeral is for a fallen firefighter or LEO then it may be led by LE motorcycles who may use the siren to alert others to stop until the procession clears - more likely at intersections.
        Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

        [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

        Comment


        • #5
          Took me all of 30 seconds to find the section of the Arizona Revised Statues:
          A.R.S. 28-954 E
          Basically, sirens may only be fitted to emergency vehicles, and may only be sounded while responding to an emergency or while in pursuit. (There is an exception for historic fire trucks, which may have one fitted, but only used during parades.)

          I don't see how a funeral fits either usage.
          "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
          John Stuart Mill

          Comment


          • #6
            I am sure it is different in each state. In KY, funeral processions have the right of way by law:

            189.378 Funeral processions.
            (1) "Funeral procession," as used in this section, means two (2) or more vehicles accompanying the body of a deceased person when each vehicle has its headlights on or is displaying a pennant attached in such a manner as to be clearly visible to approaching traffic.

            (2) A vehicle in a funeral procession has the right-of-way at an intersection and may proceed through the intersection if the procession is led by an escort vehicle displaying flashing yellow, red, or blue lights, except:
            (a) When the right-of-way is required by an emergency vehicle as defined by KRS 189.910;
            (b) When vehicles in the procession are directed otherwise by a police or safety officer; or
            (c) When the vehicle is a train or locomotive.

            (3) Before assuming the right-of-way, a person who drives a vehicle in a funeral procession shall exercise due caution with regard to crossing traffic.

            (4) A person who drives a vehicle that is not part of a funeral procession shall not drive the vehicle between the vehicles of the funeral procession or otherwise interfere with the progress of the procession, except when:
            (a) The person is authorized to do so by a police or safety officer; or
            (b) The vehicle is an emergency vehicle as defined by KRS 189.910.

            (5) A person who drives a vehicle that is not a part of a funeral procession shall not illuminate the vehicle headlights or engage in any other act for the purpose of securing the right-of-way granted to funeral processions.

            (6) The escort vehicle, hearse, or other vehicles in a procession may be equipped with flashing amber lights for the purpose of notifying the general public of the procession and gaining the right-of-way at intersections, or signaling the end of a procession.

            (7) Persons authorized to use flashing lights as defined in KRS 189.920 may use them while accompanying a funeral procession to warn traffic that a procession is approaching or that it is in progress.

            (8) When a funeral procession is in progress, a person driving a vehicle not in the procession shall not pass or overtake any vehicle in the procession unless:
            (a) The person is directed to do so by a police or safety officer;
            (b) The procession is on a street, road, or highway outside the corporate limits of a city, town, or urban-county; or
            (c) The procession is on an interstate highway or a state parkway.

            (9) Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.

            Even though the statute doesn't require a siren, we use ours when doing funeral escorts to give the other motorists (read, people with their cell phones attached to their ears and their heads up their......) another form of warning that we are requesting the right of way.

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            • #7
              I SIT CORRECTED! In fairness, the previous poster PM'd me with the section of law that says a funeral escort vehicle can be equipped with lights and a siren. They can even drive 15 MPH over the speed limit.

              But the law still does not allow them to sound the siren except when responding to an emergency, or in pursuit.
              "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
              John Stuart Mill

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sleuth View Post
                A poster here (he has now deleted his post) claims he NEEDS a siren for the company where he works, that does funeral escorts. Now, I have NEVER seen (heard) anyone doing funerals escorts (other than for an LEO or FF) use a siren.

                Is a funeral considered an emergency in your jurisdiction?

                I can certainly respect the grieving family, and will give them the right of way, but sirens?

                Or, have I lead a sheltered life?
                In Texas, certain types of peace officers are authorized to conduct police escorts. State law specifically states that a police escort can be done for a funeral procession. Therefore, lights and siren are authorized for use.

                In my city, we have officers that do funeral escorts as an authorized extra job.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I like pie.............
                  Last edited by Nobody; 10-08-2009, 09:18 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Not in Pa. They are welcome to use flashing PURPLE lights. I'll let a yellow light slide.
                    Here they funeral procession is permitted to go through a red signal. The lead vehicle uses the purple light.
                    The only time a siren is used or red/blue is when the local police or FD bury one of their own.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A funeral procession has the right of way, but the escort (civilian) is not allowed the use of a siren. Besides I think of funerals as somber quiet occassions (unless you're in New Orleans) and a siren just robs the diginity from it.
                      Today's Quote:

                      "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
                      Albert Einstein

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Once again, in the interests of fairness, the original poster did PM me with a statute that they can operate as an emergency vehicle responding to an emergency. I have no idea why.
                        escorts, both sworn and private, get killed and injured from time to time. Why are funerals allowed to violate traffic laws? Tradition? To make sure everyone gets to the graveside service? Is the benefit worth the risk? Why only funerals, why not other social gatherings that may move from place to place?

                        Sorry, my concern is more for the living than those already dead. Why not have the service here, then say "we will meet at the cemetery in 1 hour for interment - please drive carefully?"

                        It sure isn't going to make any difference to the deceased.
                        "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                        John Stuart Mill

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The AZ law can be found here:

                          http://law.justia.com/arizona/codes/title28/00776.html

                          I don't see anything in there that allows the use of a siren by an escort. It says an escort may exceed the procession by 15 MPH to jump ahead and may use red or red/blue lighting when operating.
                          Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

                          [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Look at Section c. Then, if you go to ARS 28-954, it says an Authorized Emergency vehicle may sound it's siren when responding to an emergency.

                            BTW, I used to be on a Volly Fire Dept. Our insurer said only 10 MPH above posted speed!
                            Last edited by Sleuth; 09-11-2009, 07:04 PM.
                            "A man who has nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the existing of better men than himself."
                            John Stuart Mill

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              This and other related topics comes up from time to time, and I am more than happy to respond to this as well as any other questions that regard funeral escorts or related matters.
                              I realize that I am not a LEO, however I will take the risk of being banned as this is a subject that lends itself to far too much confusion as well as outright misinformation, and such misinformation can and has actually placed the escorts, the grieving members of the procession and the public in very real danger.
                              Also, please bear in mind that the law regarding funeral processions varies wildly from state to state.

                              Under Arizona law funeral escort vehicles are granted all the rights and privileges as any emergency vehicle as under 28-624.
                              28-776 does state that red, or red and blue lights and siren are required for use.

                              Section B;

                              "A funeral escort vehicle or military escort vehicle shall be equipped with at least one lighted lamp exhibiting a red or red and blue light or lens visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of five hundred feet to the front of the vehicle and an audible signal by bell, siren or exhaust whistle as required under section 28-624."

                              As a brief reply to your question, we operate with red and blue lights as well as a siren because Arizona state law requires us to do so.

                              I've been working funeral escort in Maricopa county for nearly a decade now, and while I can understand the concern from an outside perspective, I can assure you that the individuals that I work with are exceedingly professional and cautious in the manner in which we operate.
                              We have zero interest in pretending to be something we are not.
                              What we do have an interest in is the safety of the general public, and those in the funeral procession who, in a time of extreme grief are not likely to be able to make sound and safe judgments while operating a motor vehicle on city streets.
                              Our duties encompass a great deal more than what the general public witnesses as we are passing through an intersection.

                              The links to the statute so far presented are out of date, the current law can be found here

                              In regards to speed, yes, the law allows 15 MPH over the posted, however company policy is to only travel at the maximum speed necessary to safely pass the procession in order to arrive at the next intersection in time to take control of that intersection, and clear any traffic as may be needed.
                              Our absolute maximum permitted speed via company policy is no more than 55 MPH.

                              John M.

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