With the RCMP at a check stop for impaired drivers

Especially during the holiday season, but also on busy summer weekends, the RCMP set up check stops to look for impaired drivers and other offences.

Before Christmas, I had the opportunity to accompany the police one cold evening as they pulled over cars on a busy street in a residential neighbourhood. I wrote a story about what they do, and also took photos to accompany the story. I had to agree not to show identifying information of people they pulled over such as license plates or clear shots of faces -- in a couple cases I had to digitally blur and distort faces before using the photos.

There were several police vehicles and a number of officers involved -- to pull cars over in both directions, and in one case to chase a driver who failed to stop.

It didn't take too long before the police found one woman who blew a "fail" on the roadside screening device. I photographed the process as the constable brought her into his cruiser to record her information and then had her car taken away to be impounded.

It was very dark with only a couple dim streetlights and the lights of the vehicles themselves. It would not have been appropriate for the situation or for the photographs to use a flash. I cranked up the ISO as high as I dared, knowing I could do some noise correction afterwards in software.

Below are a few images. You can read my story here.

Sgt. Kevin Schur signals a vehicle to pull over during a check for impaired drivers. RCMP have stepped up these checks during the holiday season. (Richard McGuire Photo) Sgt. Kevin Schur signals a vehicle to pull over during a check for impaired drivers. RCMP have stepped up these checks during the holiday season. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Const. Brad Chaput completes paperwork in his cruiser, suspending the license of a woman who failed a breath test. The woman sits in the back seat. When she is finally released, she chooses to walk home, after sacrificing her license and her car. The cost of the suspension for towing, impound fees, penalties and license reinstatement is roughly $1,430 -- and that's not counting the impact on her insurance premiums. (Richard McGuire Photo) Const. Brad Chaput completes paperwork in his cruiser, suspending the license of a woman who failed a breath test. The woman sits in the back seat. When she is finally released, she chooses to walk home, after sacrificing her license and her car. The cost of the suspension for towing, impound fees, penalties and license reinstatement is roughly $1,430 -- and that's not counting the impact on her insurance premiums. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Tow truck operator Laurence Usher of Usher's Towing hooks up the vehicle of a woman who received a 90-day driving suspension. Her vehicle will be impounded for 30 days. (Richard McGuire Photo) Tow truck operator Laurence Usher of Usher's Towing hooks up the vehicle of a woman who received a 90-day driving suspension. Her vehicle will be impounded for 30 days. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Const. Brad Chaput checks the drivers license of a man he's pulled over. Everything is fine, and the man is free to go. (Richard McGuire Photo) Const. Brad Chaput checks the drivers license of a man he's pulled over. Everything is fine, and the man is free to go. (Richard McGuire Photo)

About Richard McGuire

Richard McGuire is a photographer and photojournalist based in Osoyoos in the South Okanagan region of British Columbia, Canada.

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