On October 1, texting and driving became prohibited in Florida. To show you how serious Florida lawmakers are about texting and driving, if you're caught, you pay a whopping $30.

The new FL law says police must first catch you in another traffic offense; — texting is only a 'secondary' infraction, nothing you can be pulled over for on its own.

The Palm Beach Post reports that while you can’t type and drive, it’s still legal to thumb away at that message while stopped at a light or in a traffic jam. And even then, should the officer ask to see the phone in question, you’re not obligated to hand it over.

In Florida from 2010 through 2011, at least 85 crashes caused by distracted drivers turned fatal, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The state has more than 120,000 miles of roads used by more than 15 million licensed drivers.

Florida Highway Patrol officials have taken steps to get the word out about the new law, Capt. Nancy Rasmussen said earlier this week.

A public service announcement has been distributed to Florida high schools. Students should hear the 15-second spot Tuesday during school announcements.

Also, FHP’s 10 public affairs staffers have been ordered to fan out across high schools Tuesday, Oct. 15, to make presentations about texting-while-driving.

Rasmussen acknowledges that some critics question whether secondary enforcement sends a mixed message...

“We think it’s going to be a deterrent,” Rasmussen said. “People will know they’re not supposed to try to text while they’re behind the wheel. It’ll be another tool in our toolbox for traffic safety.”

Think about it... what else could she say if she wants to keep her job?

Florida is now among 41 states with a texting-while-driving ban, but one of only four states that watered it down so that it's virtually meaningless --as just a secondary offense, according to the Governor’s Highway Association.

Frankly, I don't know why they bothered.