Is It Legal To Pass A Funeral Procession in Missouri & Illinois?
You're driving and you find yourself behind a funeral procession that's going really slow. In Missouri and Illinois can you hit the gas and zip past that funeral procession?
Missouri state law 194.503 deals with this law. In Missouri not only can't you drive past a funeral procession you need to yield to it. Additionally, pedestrians need to yield to the procession as well:
"Pedestrians and operators of all other vehicles shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which is a part of an organized funeral procession."
The law goes on to say that once the lead vehicle in a funeral procession enters an intersection, all vehicles in the procession may proceed through the intersection even if the traffic signal changes. Pretty much the only vehicles a funeral procession in Missouri needs to yield to are approaching emergency vehicles or a law enforcement officer directing the procession to stop.
In Illinois, many of the same statutes are the same as in Missouri. Yet, there is a provision in Illinois laws that yes, let you overtake and pass a funeral procession in certain circumstances. Here's what Illinois law says:
"The operator of a vehicle not in a funeral procession may overtake and pass the vehicles in such procession if such overtaking and passing can be accomplished without causing a traffic hazard or interfering with such procession."
Illinois law also prohibits drivers not in the funeral procession from joining the procession except when authorized to do so by a traffic officer, or if that vehicle is an emergency vehicle. Additionally, drivers not in a funeral procession can't form a convoy or procession for the purpose of securing the right of way.
Surprisingly, in Texas, it's generally legal to pass funeral processions unless they're being led by a police officer using lights and sirens. Then you're required to pull to the right and stop while letting the procession pass
I find that surprising because Texans are the most polite people when it comes to funeral processions. During my six years there I routinely not only saw funeral processions get the right of way. But it was not uncommon for Texans to pull over to let the procession pass, and in small communities even exit their vehicle and stand reverently with hats off and heads bowed. It was a nice touching show of respect.
The bottom line, in Missouri you can't pass a funeral procession, while in Illinois you can if you don't cause a traffic hazard or interfere with the procession.