funerals and the law


Warden Slaps Ticket on Hearse While Driver Leaves to Collect Deceased

Hearses and funeral cars often get special treatment when it comes to parking and traffic in general.  Funeral processions go through red lights and get the right of way at any intersection.  But one funeral professional recently learned that soft glove treatment isn’t always the default.

Recently, the London Metro reported an incident where an undertaker was ticketed while collecting the body of someone who had recently died.   A local bystander, George Portsmouth, was sitting near a window while visiting North Cumbria University Hospital in Carlisle, Cumbria, UK when he noticed a strange development unfolding outside.

He watched as a funeral car pulled up and the drivers walked inside to collect the body of a recently departed person.  As soon as the drivers went inside, George saw a parking warden come up and ticket the vehicle which was parked immediately outside the doors.  Granted, the car was in fact parked illegally.  To be fair, though, when transporting a body, it’s usually best that you don’t have to roll the gurney through the parking lot.

Check out the full story – including pictures of the warden slapping on the ticket and then running away – over at the Metro site.  What do you think?  Should funeral cars be forced to adhere to the same parking rules as everyone else?  Or does the work of collecting the dead override parking lot regulations?



Funeral Cars – Are They Above the Law?

Anyone who has been a driver for more than a few years knows what it is like to deal with parking laws.  Stopping outside a shop on a busy street, double parking while you run back into your house to grab something or even just misinterpreting the hourly restrictions on a side street – every driver has a story about an epic parking issue.

We rarely think about hearses or funeral cars with respect to parking laws, but a story out of the UK made headlines when those two worlds came together.  A parking attendant working in Marlborough ticketed a funeral director who had parked his limousine at the street curb to wash it before a funeral.  The curb was painted with double yellow lines, designating it a No Parking zone but, as it was the curb outside his own funeral home, the director didn’t think twice about it.

The parking attendant didn’t think twice either – and issued a ticket on the spot.  The director became so upset about it that he splashed the attendant with water from the hose he was using to wash the car.  The attendant responded by adding assault charges to the paring ticket.

Do you think parking officers should be more lenient on funeral cars and hearses when they are parked somewhere where other cars are not allowed?  Was this a case of simply enforcing the letter of the law or an example of someone abusing their position of power?

The ironic part of the story is that David Hunter, the funeral director in question, asked the city to make the area outside his funeral home a “no parking” zone because other cars were parking there and blocking his hearses from getting in and out of the parking lot. He claims he was only partly parked on the double yellow lines and he said he was not blocking anybody in where he was parked. He went on to say this: “I know the wardens have a job to do but they should use their discretion.”

How do our readers weigh in on this story? Should the funeral director be allowed to park in the “no parking” zone in front of his facility to wash his hearses or did the parking warden do her job correctly? Let us know your thoughts below.