Drivers used to show respect by pulling off to the side of the road, slowing down or stopping all together. Now he said they are lucky to get to the cemetery in one group without other drivers cutting them off. He said it's getting dangerous.
"We may have a green light and all the traffic sees us, but by the time you're 20 to 30 cars back, the situation may have changed," Hutcheson said. Kentucky law gives drivers in a funeral line the right to run a red light if they have their headlights and flashers on. Hutcheson said he tells drivers now if they don't feel safe, don't do it. Many other drivers don't see funeral processions or know they're supposed to stop.
"We still have people do that, but we have lots of people who don't do that. And that creates some safety hazards," Hutcheson said. The other thing that has changed is the funeral home's access to police escorts through intersections.
"In the past, it was unusual for us to not get a police escort," he said. "Now it's more common place to not get one than to get one."
Assistant Chief of Paducah Police Brian Krueger released this statement, "For many years now, the Paducah Police Department has provided funeral escorts when call volume allows. Our call volume varies daily. A review of stats associated with funeral escorts for 2014 shows that the Paducah Police Department successfully completed about 50% of the funeral escort requests we received. Kentucky Revised Statutes does stipulate specifics related to funeral escorts, and allows for people to disregard traffic control devices when part of a funeral procession. We should always pay attention when driving, regardless of the circumstances, and we should never assume that another driver is going to yield or respond in a particular way. I certainly agree with Mr. Hutcheson about fewer people showing respect by slowing down or pulling over as the procession approaches, as we are all used to seeing. Not only does this increase the overall safety for funeral processions but the families appreciate it too."
McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden said if the sheriff's department has a deputy, it provides the escort. He said it not only makes for a safer situation, it shows respect.
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