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Peteetong Gentlemen, I have a traffic law oriented question for the great George Stein that I've been dying to ask him. Unfortunately, I always seem to be driving to work in the morning when he shows up in your studio, and I'm one of those rare breed that actively tries to avoid talking on the cell phone while I'm driving, so I haven't had a chance to try and call in and ask George this question directly. So, if y'all don't mind, maybe one of you can ask Mr. Stein this question in a future segment, allowing me to live the experience of receiving George's legal wisdom vicariously. Here's the question: What are the actual laws concerning pulling over for or not passing a funeral procession? Are such actions actually against the law, or just against local customs? Now, before I go any further, I will say that I'm a down-home Georgia boy, born and bred, so I understand and respect the Southern custom of pulling over and waiting for a funeral procession to pass you, out of respect for the deceased and their grieving loved ones. But I feel the "rules" on this custom should be different when you're driving on the interstate. I understand pulling over and/or not passing a procession if you're on a standard 2-lane road that goes through town, through neighborhoods, etc, but the idea that you can't pass a procession while on I-75 seems ridiculous and horribly unnecessary. I have found myself on at least two occasions where I've been driving on I-75, and a funeral procession has pulled onto the interstate in front of me. They pull into the far right lane in a long, single file line, and drive either at or below the minimum 40 mph speed limit. The problem comes in if anybody tries to move into one of the other 3 or 4 lanes to the left of the procession and drive past them. In both cases, I saw other drivers move over a couples lanes and try to drive past the procession (safely and within the speed limit), only to have one of the escorting police officers peal off, chase them down, and pull them over. So essentially, a funeral procession that is only occupying the far right lane and driving under the minimum speed limit is allowed to completely hold up the progress and flow of traffic on a 4 or 5 lane interstate; on what is arguably THE major north/south thoroughfare running through the Eastern United States. I am not advocating disrespecting the dead, but come on! That's just ridiculous. So is it actually against the law to pass a funeral procession, and do the police truly have the legal authority to pull you over and detain you or ticket you if you try? Or is it only a custom that the police are using (and possibly abusing) their position to enforce as if it were a law? And if it's only a custom, is it possible to point that out to the officer, acknowledge (politely) his lack of authority to stop you for such a reason, wish him a nice day, and be on your way? I for one would really like to know. Any way, sorry for being lengthy and verbose, and thanks for your time and George Stein question consideration. Keep hope alive, Regular Guys! Later.




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