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Police taking note of hair-raising funeral procession antics

Published:Tuesday | May 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

Reckless driving during funeral processions is not going unnoticed by the police, who say they are prepared to slap offenders with fines under the full extent of the law, according to Courtney Coubrie, acting senior superintendent of the Traffic Division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

"We are taking stock of what's happening because it is important for public order that discipline is maintained on our roads, and for funeralgoers to recognise that unruly behaviour while driving can lead to crashes and to the loss of lives," Coubrie told The Gleaner yesterday in the aftermath of several fatal traffic accidents during the last 72 hours that have resulted in four deaths.

During the first four months of 2018, there have been 92 fatal accidents resulting in 105 deaths, compared to 101 crashes and 109 fatalities for the corresponding period in 2017.

Coubrie further noted that drivers using their cars to block off intersections to allow a funeral procession to go through may seem an honourable thing, but it is illegal and very dangerous, and if caught, the police will take action. He added that motorists should seek police outriders to help instead.

In addition, he said that music being played loudly from hearses during processions was also an offence under the Noise Abatement Act.

"Decency and public order must be kept, and I am asking that drivers of these hearses not turn up the music to disturb the neighbourhoods on their way to the burial place," Coubrie stated.

Coubrie disclosed that the police would be formally writing to funeral homes advising them of the breaches to the Road Traffic Act and complaints from members of the public.