Funeral processions are part of an age-old tradition of mourners who follow the dearly departed from the memorial site to the final resting place. Where this used to be accomplished on foot in older times, the modern funeral procession is now often a line of automobiles headed to the gravesite. This mark of respect for the dead can have the unfortunate side effect of traffic congestion and even vehicular collisions. It is important for all Michigan drivers to understand their rights and responsibilities when participating in or encountering a funeral procession on the roadway.
Most people think they have a good idea of what it means to "operate" a vehicle when accused of drunk driving. They usually envision the typical scenario of a police officer driving behind a vehicle on a highway that is swerving between the lanes. The police officer executes a traffic stop and, when he approaches the rolled-down driver's side window, he smells the powerful odor of alcohol and intoxicants. The police officer then administers a PBT (preliminary breath test) to discover that the driver is over the legal limit and then executes an arrest. But what about those situations where it is not so clear that the driver was "operating" the vehicle? What if the officer finds the drunk individual in the parking lot when the car is turned off? What if the officer finds the drunk individual in a running car engaged in the parking or neutral gear but he or she was sleeping at the wheel? Are they "operating" the vehicle?