WHEN your parking meter runs out, do you like to grab the space next to it if it's free?
When you drive, do you sometimes talk on your mobile phone with it sitting in your lap and switched to loudspeaker?
Or does your dog occasionally sit on your lap while you drive?
All this, and much more, will become illegal under new road laws to be introduced in November.
Under the laws, announced by Roads Minister Tim Pallas yesterday, drivers will for the first time be fined $234 and lose three demerit points if any of their passengers are not wearing a seatbelt.
The current seatbelt laws specify that drivers are liable for penalties only if passengers not wearing a seatbelt are aged under 16.
The laws also make it compulsory for children to be in a child restraint until age seven. Infants must be in a capsule until six months of age.
And laws governing mobile phone use while driving - responsible for many serious accidents and deaths each year - will be tightened dramatically.
A driver is four times more likely to crash while using a mobile phone. Already, more than 40,000 drivers a year are fined for using a mobile phone, ranking it among the state's top three driving offences.
Under the changes, mobile phone use while driving will only be permitted if the phone is in a commercially designed holder and the driver does not need to touch any part of the phone to receive a call (by using bluetooth or a similar technology).
Even holding a mobile phone - whether or not engaged in a phone call - will now be prohibited. Holding a phone, the new laws specify, include a driver resting it on their lap.
Drivers who flout the mobile phone laws will also risk a $234 fine and three demerit points.
Other changes to the road safety laws are designed to minimise driver distractions, such as from portable music players and satellite navigation systems.
And drivers must show even more care when passing a tram: currently, road rules state only that a car must not pass the rear of a tram if a pedestrian is crossing.
Now, if a tram is stopped at a tram stop, a car must stop too - regardless of whether they can see a person crossing the road to get on or off the tram.
Parking laws have also been reviewed, in a move that will please councils reliant on revenue from fines.
A driver who moves their car to another parking spot must now move it off the length of road, or out of the area to which a parking sign applies.
This means a motorist who moves their car to an adjacent parking spot once their time has run out would be liable for a fine.
For skateboarders or those who ride a foot-propelled scooter, there are changes too.
Skateboards must not be used on roads at night - VicRoads says this is dangerous because skaters are so difficult to see - and wearing a helmet will now be compulsory for scooter riders.
Motorcyclists will also have to contend with new laws that raise the minimum age of a passenger to eight.
And motorbike riders will no longer be allowed to have an animal sitting on the fuel tank.
One exception to this, said VicRoads director of road user safety David Shelton, was if a motorcyclist had a legitimate use for the animal, such as a dog on a farm. However, no such exceptions will apply to a car driver who allows a dog between them and the steering wheel.
''Those days will be well and truly over,'' Mr Shelton said.
The RACV's chief engineer, Peter Daly, said the improvements to road rules were crucial to stop deaths and serious injuries on the roads.
"The issue at the core of these changes is driver distraction and it must be addressed if we are to reduce crashes on our roads,'' he said.
The new laws will come into force on November 9.