On my way home form work the other day I noticed a funeral procession in my rear view mirror. I turned onto a side street to get out of its way, as I was taught that you always pull-over and let the funeral pass by.

A few cars didn't, which made me wonder if they were breaking the law. My curiosity led to a quick Internet search, which led me to the insurance news and claims resources site Claims Journal.

It turns out Texas does not have any laws requiring drivers to yield to a funeral procession. Here is what their research on the laws governing funeral processions of all 50 states found regarding Texas:

There is no state law governing funeral processions, however, Texas courts recognize the tradition of vehicles stopping to allow a funeral procession to pass through an intersection. A driver that collides with a vehicle in a funeral possession may be liable if the procession was going through an intersection was noticeable."

In other words, it's customary but you're not obligated to do so by law. There are a couple of caveats, though.

• If the procession has a police escort -- as is often the case here in El Paso where they are usually accompanied by two or three policemen on motorcycles -- and they signal you to move over or yield then you must do so. But if the procession is not accompanied by peace officers you do not have to pull over and let it pass.

• While the state doesn't have specific laws, the City of El Paso has several "miscellaneous traffic regulations" on the books. This is how the City of El Paso Municipal Code, Chapter 12.80, reads:


12.80.060 - Processions—Driving through.
No driver of a vehicle or motorman of a streetcar shall drive between the vehicles comprising a funeral or other authorized procession while such processions are in motion and when such vehicles are conspicuously designated as required in this title. This provision shall not apply at intersections where traffic is controlled by traffic-control signals or police officers.

12.80.070 - Funeral processions—Identification.
Every vehicle in a funeral procession shall be identified by displaying lighted headlamps throughout the entire period of such procession.

12.80.080 - Funeral processions—Driving in.
Each driver in a funeral or other procession shall drive as near to the right-hand edge of the roadway as practical and shall follow the vehicle ahead as close as is practical and safe.

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