Drivers say they sympathize with families who've lost loved ones but don't agree that they can break the law to honor them.

We received an email from a listener this week that set off a firestorm of calls from Hudson Valley drivers complaining about funeral processions. We've all seen caravans of cars with their lights on following a hearse on their way to a funeral. Out of respect, most drivers will let them pass and stay together as they travel through the Hudson Valley.

The problem comes when those funeral processions hit a traffic light. Many of our listeners have witnessed cars continue to follow through a red light, causing safety concerns to other drivers approaching the intersection that may not be aware a funeral procession is in their way.

Husband and Wife Funeral Farewell
Christian Vuong

For the record, there's no law stating that funeral processions can run red lights. They are, in fact, breaking the law.

Afraid to offend those mourning the loss of a loved one, other drivers usually don't complain about the practice. But it turns out that most of those behind the wheel secretly don't approve of the practice.

We polled our audience and a huge majority of listeners say that they disapprove of the practice. One listener called in to tell us that they were almost side-swiped by a car in a funeral procession on Route 9. After some cars stopped at the red light, another car following the procession believed that they could run the light, almost causing a serious accident.


We did hear from some listeners who say that the tradition of allowing funeral processions to blow through lights should remain because those from out of town could get lost on the way to the cemetery. Others pointed out that GPS has eliminated the need for cars to follow each other and don't believe that it's a valid excuse.

A bill was proposed a few years ago by New York lawmakers that would make interrupting a funeral procession illegal, resulting in fines for drivers who cut them off. The bill didn't receive enough support to become law, most likely because of safety concerns.

As someone who's been in far too many funeral processions, I happen to agree that cars shouldn't be allowed to run lights just because someone has passed away. I don't understand the urgency of getting to the cemetery. Instead, the trip should be done safely. It's strange to show more respect and courtesy for one deceased person than for the lives of everyone else on the road and their loved ones.

What do you think? Should funeral processions be allowed to run red lights in the Hudson Valley? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

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