Driving behaviour is as significant a community issue as family violence, according to a road safety chief.
South-west police road safety manager Senior Sergeant Chris Asenjo said there was a cultural issue with driving behaviour
"I've got a background in both (family violence investigation and road safety) and it may be controversial but I believe poor road user behaviour is as significant a community issue as family violence," he said.
"It's that big. It's an epidemic."
Senior Sergeant Asenjo made the comments after a 53-year-old truck driver died in a single vehicle accident at Branxholme earlier this week.
It was the seventh death on south-west roads this year compared to nine for all of 2018.
"It's not OK to drive over the speed limit, to drink and drive and to drive while under the influence of drugs. It's not OK to even ride a bike without a helmet," he said.
"With 230 people a year dying on Victorian roads there should be community outrage. Our family and friends dying and being seriously injured should cause community outrage.
"We can't accept this as OK. The attitude that it is acceptable to accept deaths on the road must change and it starts with the community. It starts with all of us."
Senior Sergeant Asenjo said road user behaviour and road trauma were public safety issues.
"People don't seem to get their heads around that. If you engage in poor driver behaviour you increase your chances of dying on the roads," he said.
"You are 60 per cent more likely to be killed or seriously injured on a country road and road condition has next to nothing to do with that, road user behaviour does.
"People are dying, it's that simple. Police are only part of the solution. It's everyone's responsibility to fix this community issue.
"It took a generation to improve the drink-driving culture and we still have issues in that space. It may take another generation to improve driver behaviour generally, but I ask 'how many people have to die?'"
The road safety chief said sections of road in the south-west could be classed as "ordinary" but whether speeds should be reduced was up to VicRoads.
"It's not for police to say what speed zone should be applicable to certain pieces of road," he said.
"VicRoads are the experts about that. We are the experts about enforcing those speed zones and being visible on the roads to prevent trauma," Senior Sergeant Asenjo said.
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.