SIX NATIONS – We’ve all heard the rumours. Usually it takes place in whispers by the family in the booth behind you at breakfast, or in the cubicle next door at work.
“Don’t drive on the reserve on the weekend. There’s too many drunks. It’s too dangerous.”
Sadly, this is a widely upheld belief throughout our local area. However it is largely incorrect.
Let’s look at the local statistics.
In 2015 — Six Nations Police logged 41 calls reporting a suspected drunk driver. Six Nations Police Chief Glenn Lickers said officers pursued and made nine arrests for impaired driving.
One out of the nine charged was not a band member or resident of the territory. The remaining eight were band members and residents of Six Nations.
In contrast — Brantford Police logged 84 impaired drivers in 2015.
By residency; 60 were from Brantford, five were in Brant County, one was from Six Nations and 18 were from other areas in Ontario including Kitchener-Waterloo, Woodstock, Hamilton and Toronto.
Taking percentages into account — the rate of DUI on Six Nations versus that of Brantford is actually less by about .02 per cent — with Brantford at 0.09 per cent and Six Nations at 0.07 per cent for that year.
What does that mean? Statistically speaking DUIs are not more common on Six Nations of the Grand River territory than in a normal, neighbouring town, like say — Brantford.
In fact, Six Nations is below the provincial statistic for DUI arrests.
A federal study done in 2011 shows 17,326 DUI charges were laid in Ontario making the provincial rate 0.13 per cent.
This is nearly double the rate of DUI arrests and charges laid at Six Nations of the Grand River territory.
So what does this mean?
First of all — be safe everywhere you go. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t text and drive. Don’t drive high. All of the above.
Driving on Six Nations of the Grand River roads can be challenging. It is a lot darker than other places, speed limits are higher and surrounding wildlife can pop out of the bushes at any time — day or night.
But in terms of drinking and driving being “worse on the rez” than anywhere else, the evidence seems to say that this is not true.
According to Ottawa, provincial numbers across the board for DUI charges are all doing better.
In a 2011 federal statistic study Ontario reported the least amount of impaired driving arrests in Canada. And the rates in Ontario have continued to decline since 2006.
Impaired driving rates are highest in persons 20 to 24 years old.
The rate of female impaired drivers has increased while the rate of male impaired has decreased. For example in 2011, one in every six DUI arrests was female. Back in 1986, one in every 13 was female.
This is locally noted as well. Brantford Police reported a marked increase in female arrests in 2015.
According to the federal study Halloween is the worst time of the year for DUI. So make plans this coming weekend to stay safe. Have a sober, designated driver. Keep the number of a local cab company and cab fare available if you’re headed out. And know your limits.