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Palmerton to consider ban on cell phones while driving

Published March 26. 2010 05:00PM

Will Palmerton become the latest municipality to ban cell phone use while driving?

The topic was brought forth for discussion during a meeting of Borough Council on Thursday.

Councilman Richard Nothstein asked whether the borough would want to enact such a ban.

Nothstein suggested the borough's public safety committee check into the matter of texting and cell phone use while driving in the borough.

"It's on television, where it's been said there have been hundreds to thousands of accidents caused per year," Nothstein said. "They shouldn't be doing that while driving."

Council didn't make a decision on the matter. However, borough Manager Rodger Danielson noted a memo has been sent out to borough employees.

If the borough were to pass such a ban, it would be the most recent in what could become a long list of municipalities to follow suit.

Earlier this month, Allentown passed a ban on cell phones while driving. Harrisburg, Erie and Philadelphia have passed similar cell phone bans.

Also on Thursday, council unanimously agreed to the hiring of David Mattei as a part-time police officer, retroactive to earlier this month.

Borough manager Rodger Danielson said Mattei has already worked several shifts for the borough.

Mattei was hired at a rate of $12 an hour. His hiring gives the police department five part-time officers, seven full-time officers, plus police Chief Randy Smith.

Mayor Brad Doll spoke highly of Mattei, a retired state police officer.

"He's exactly perfect in what we love in a police officer, though it would help to have one or two others," Doll said. "With somebody like this with experience, it helps a lot."

In another police-related matter, Doll asked council to consider the purchase of eight permanently mounted Taser holsters for the full time police officers at a cost of around $600.

Doll suggested that council make the items part of the "organizational equipment" listed on future police contracts.

Council President Terry Costenbader told Doll council would need more time before it's ready to make such a decision.

Finally, council agreed to advertise for adoption changes to the borough's street sweeping ordinance.

Councilman Kris Hoffner said the changes would delete several streets and add several others in the ordinance.

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