As you walk around Basking Ridge, the changing colors of the leaves are bright signs that the holiday season will soon be upon us. In fact, a police department just a few miles to our northeast has already begun the annual tradition of increasing drunk driving patrols and setting up DUI/DWI checkpoints during the season.

According to a recent news report, Montclair police officers have started the yearly crackdown on drivers suspected of being impaired by either alcohol or drugs.

In fact, the Montclair police department is to conduct its very first DWI checkpoint tonight, the report states. More are expected as the calendar progresses towards the end of 2019.

Those who are arrested for DWI will face New Jersey’s harsh punishments if convicted. But as many of our regular blog readers will recall, it was widely reported earlier this year that the percentage of DWI-charge dismissals has been on the rise over the past decade.

Back in 2008, a whopping 85 percent of those arrested for drunk driving were found guilty of the charge. By 2017, that percentage had dropped significantly – all the way down to 71 percent. Many of those who had been charged with DWI wound up pleading guilty to other charges, allowing them to retain their driving privileges.

Some also had their charges dropped by prosecutors after a criminal defense attorney had made it clear that the evidence did not support the DWI allegations, of course.

Montclair is getting out in front of the annual ramping up of DWI enforcement, but you can expect police departments across Somerset County, as well as in Morris, Union, Middlesex, Mercer and Hunterdon counties to follow suit soon.

We urge everyone to drive safely throughout the coming holiday season and throughout the year.