PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Local News

September 25, 2012

ASK A COP: Funeral processions, driving with one headlight

— Richard from Port Arthur asks: Officer Antoine, is there any city or state law pertaining to funerals? I always pull over and stop to show my respect for the family members. I see cars not stopping and sometimes passing the funeral. It would be nice for the funeral home to display a light on the last car so traffic would know where the line ends.

Answer: Thank you, Richard, I have answered this question before but I have received several more inquiries regarding the law during funeral processions. Richard, there is currently NO LAW in the state of Texas for funeral processions. I understand and agree with your respect for the deceased’s family by pulling over on the side of the road until the procession has passed. But that's on the opposite side of the road of the procession. Now let's consider a funeral procession approaching you from behind. Nearly every funeral procession involves at least two Texas police officers on motorcycles or marked police units. The first officer in the escort will lead the procession to stop/block intersections in order to keep the family and friends together so all can arrive at the final resting place of the deceased at the same time. The lead escort officer will have on his emergency lights while sounding his siren. Texas law states when you observe a police unit behind you with lights/sirens activated, it is your responsibility to safely pull over to the right side of the road until they pass.

Marilyn from Port Arthur asks: I was driving home a couple of nights ago and I was notified by another driver that my driver's side headlamp was out. So I turned on my high beam lights so others could see me. When I got home and told my husband. He said I couldn't drive with my bright lights on, but I told him it was for my and other drivers’ safety. Is he right?

Answer: This is a good question, Marilyn, and I am proud to say your husband is right — well, kind of. I bet you probably had several people flashing their high beam lights at you that night. Texas law states you can drive a vehice with your high beam lights on as long as you deactivate them within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle. Also you must cut the bright lights off when you are approaching within 300 feet from the rear of a vehicle. Marilyn, traveling in a city, that’s very difficult to do without violating the law. Also, operating your vehicle with one headlamp is a violation.

Remember to email your questions to rantoine@portarthurpd.com,  call 409-984-8541 to leave a voicemail, or mail Ofc. Rickey Antoine 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas 77640. If you happen to see me in public, you can “Ask A Cop.”

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