Code Blue - watch your driving on 72
The Thin Blue Line will stretch from Georgia to North Carolina in the coming week along a road that forms the backbone of Clinton and south-east Laurens County.
Excessive speed, no seat belt use, hazards for motorcycles, and driving safe, maintained vehicles are areas of concern for the SC Highway Patrol on Hwy 72, that passes through Clinton. The highway is four-lane in Abbeville, Greenwood and Laurens counties, two-lane in Laurens-Newberry and through Whitmire and Carlisle, then back to four-lane again as it goes around Chester and up to the NC line.
It passes over a lake, and it takes nearly hair-pin turns in some places. Hwy 72 passes right in front of Clinton High School - and people are driving it like it's a superhighway.
From June 21 to 23, the Highway Patrol will place extra emphasis - including motorcycle patrols - on safety along Hwy 72. "We're a close knit family in law enforcement. When we work these wrecks, whether they're fatal or not, it affects us. We know these people," Laurens Police Chief Sonny Ledda said. "We want to keep everybody safe."
Ledda joined Highway Patrol, Clinton Department of Public Safety, Laurens County Sheriff's Office and Whitmire Police representatives in a Code Blue on 72 announcement today (June 14) at Clinton DPS. The Patrol announced the crack-down effort in Greenwood, also. Laurens County is in Troop 2, and adjoining Troop 4 including Chester, Union and York also will pay particular attention to Hwy 72 next week.
Speed and non-compliance with the seat belt laws - day and night - will be especially emphasized. Also, law enforcement will be on the look-out for vehicles that are not properly maintained.
From Clinton High north through Whitmire and on to Chester, Hwy 72 is especially hazardous because of its narrow two lanes, and steep drop-offs on the shoulders. Between south Clinton over Lake Greenwood and on into Greenwood (where the highway is a business by-pass) it's a different kind of hazard. Drivers are going much too fast on this stretch of Hwy 72.
82 mph is not uncommon for the Troopers to clock on this portion of the highway, where it's four-laned.
Anyone who sees reckless or impaired driving on Hwy 72 during next week's crackdown (or any time, anywhere) is urged to call 911 or dial *HP to make a report to the SC Highway Patrol.