(a) Funeral processions properly identified by a flashing amber light on the lead vehicle, or identified as a police escort, where the vehicle has visual signals and is equipped with or displays an amber light accompanied by a blue light visible from the front of the vehicle, or led by a properly identified escort, shall have the right-of-way on any street, highway, or road through which they may pass, subject to the following provisions:
(1) The operator of the leading vehicle in a funeral procession shall comply with stop signs and traffic-control signals, but when the leading vehicle has progressed across an intersection in accordance with that signal or after stopping as required by the stop sign, all vehicles of the procession may proceed without stopping regardless of the sign or signal when each of these vehicles has its headlights lighted;
(2) Vehicles in a funeral procession shall drive on the right-hand side of the roadway and shall follow the vehicle ahead as close as is practical and safe;
(3) Operators of vehicles in a funeral procession shall yield the right-of-way to an authorized emergency vehicle giving audible signal by siren and shall yield the right-of-way when directed to do so by a traffic officer;
(4) On public highways and interstates, vehicles in a funeral procession shall proceed at a minimum speed of forty-five miles per hour (45 mph); and otherwise, on streets and roads at a speed not to exceed five miles per hour (5 mph) below the posted speed;
(5) Vehicles following a funeral procession on a two-lane highway may not attempt to pass the procession; and
(6) No operator of a vehicle shall drive between vehicles in a properly identified funeral procession except when directed to do so by a traffic officer.
(b) Motorcycle escorts of properly identified funeral processions may:
(1) Notwithstanding § 55-8-182(c) or any other law to the contrary, operate a motorcycle between lanes of traffic or between adjacent lines or rows of vehicles;
(2) Notwithstanding § 55-9-201 or any other provision of law to the contrary, install a bell, siren, or exhaust whistle of a type approved by the sheriff of the county in which the motorcycle is to be operated; provided, that the system is deactivated at all times the motorcycle is not escorting a properly identified funeral procession; and
(3) Notwithstanding § 55-9-402 or any other law to the contrary, install a green strobe flashing light system of a type approved by the sheriff of the county in which the motorcycle is to be operated; provided, that the system is deactivated at all times the motorcycle is not escorting a properly identified funeral procession.
(c)(1) Unless complying with the specific order of a law enforcement officer, no operator of a motor vehicle shall knowingly:
(A) Fail to yield the right-of-way to a properly identified funeral procession progressing across an intersection in accordance with subdivision (a)(1);
(B) While following a properly identified funeral procession along a two-lane street, road or highway, pass or attempt to pass a properly identified funeral procession; or
(C) Drive or attempt to drive between the vehicles within a properly identified funeral procession.
(2) Each violation of subdivision (c)(1) is punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00).
(3) For purposes of this subsection (c), to be a “properly identified” funeral procession, the procession must be indicated by a flashing amber light and a auditory signaling device mounted on the lead vehicle or by other properly identified escort, and a flag or other appropriate marking device on each vehicle in the procession indicating that the vehicle is part of the funeral procession.
(4) Any county or municipality may adopt the provisions of this subsection (c) for properly identified funeral processions within its jurisdiction by a two-thirds ( 2/3 ) vote of the legislative body of that county or municipality. If a county or municipality adopts this subsection (c), the presiding officer of that legislative body shall proclaim and certify its adoption to the secretary of state.
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