Purple Lights Making it Safer to Drive Through Red Lights

By Brian Schultz

Motorists should exercise caution when they see a vehicle with flashing purple lights on it. That’s the message Manitoba Public Insurance wants to get out about travelling funeral processions.

Funeral operators will now be able to use the flashing lights during a procession to make them more visible to other drivers. Until now, vehicles in a procession would activate their headlights, but with most vehicles becoming standard with daytime running lights, procession vehicles were not standing out anymore.

A special lighting permit will be needed, which will be issued by MPI’s registrar to each funeral operator. There is no charge for the permit, which has no expiration date, but is vehicle specific.

The general rule is that once the lead vehicle in the procession has ensured that it is safe to proceed, the procession may proceed through a red light or stop signs. Other motorists are to give the right of way to the vehicles in the procession.

Manitoba’s Highway Traffic Act currently prohibits the use of purple lights on any vehicle, but legislation also includes a provision to issue a special lighting permit for individual cases.

Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia all use flashing purple lights in funeral processions.