U Drive, U Text, U Pay — Even If You’re Christie’s Wife
BERNARDSVILLE — First lady Mary Pat Christie was reminded the hard way that drivers can't have a cell phone in their hands while behind the wheel.
NJ.com reported that Christie was stopped on April 10 by Officer Timothy Richard who was on a distracted driving detail as part of the "U Drive U Text, U Pay" awareness campaign sponsored by the Office of Public Safety.
In a video posted by the news site, the state's first lady is pulled over while driving a white Chevrolet Suburban. Christie questioned why she was stopped because she did not have it to her ear.
"You can't have it in your hand at all. No, ma'am," Richard explained. He said that even propped against the steering wheel, she's looking down taking her eyes off the road.
After checking her driving record, Richards hands her a ticket.
She asked if a cup of coffee constituted a distraction. Richards said that technically it is, but "it's cell phone distracted driver month."
Christie said she was trying to "follow the law."
"Yeah, unfortunately wrong place, wrong time," Richards said.
Christie never mentioned who she was to the officer, and he does not indicate whether he knows who her husband is. According to NJ.com, a colleague told him who she was months later.
The news site said Christie later pleaded guilty in Municipal Court and paid a $250 fine.
“Because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction,” according to a state Department of Law and Public Safety statement about the campaign.
The National Safety Council provided $5,550 grants to each of 189 law enforcement agencies in the state. The campaign runs through April 21.