State Highway Safety Showcase
Project Extra Mile - Underage Drinking Prevention Network
The Project Extra Mile (PEM) Community Coalition Network effort is the ongoing project born as a pilot program through a cooperative initiative of NHTSA and GHSA. The mission of PEM is “to create a community consensus that clearly states that underage drinking is illegal, unhealthy, and unacceptable.”
PEM is a network of community coalitions working in several identified counties in Nebraska. Community coalitions are open to all and include representatives from public health, schools, youth, enforcement, faith organizations, safety advocacy, prosecutors and other elected officials. Utilizing environmental strategies, the coalitions desire is to make their community safer for young people through the prevention of underage drinking.
The PEM coalitions are effective in:
- Providing community youth with training and technical assistance to develop their own underage drinking prevention and advocacy initiatives;
- Facilitating, training and assisting law enforcement with underage alcohol compliance checks, party/saturation patrols, and source investigation;
- Initiating media/education campaign efforts targeting underage drinking awareness and prevention activities;
- Reviewing and proposing school, local, and state alcohol policy considerations related to the effects on the underage drinking environment; and
- Recognizing organizations and individuals that are leaders and innovators in address the community issues regarding underage drinking through its annual statewide awards recognition program.
PEM has also developed and implemented statewide media campaigns that target underage drinking issues. In addition to targeting the youth population, one of the most critical efforts is to target the adults who sell or provide alcohol to underage youth.
Since PEM was established, they have been instrumental in affecting many significant public policy changes targeting underage drinking. The following are just a few of the many pieces of legislation, ordinances, and administrative procedures that have been adopted or changed as a result of strong efforts by the community coalitions:
- Open alcohol container law;
- New Nebraska tamper-proof and minor drivers license;
- Prohibiting alcohol in community parks;
- Eliminating license suspension ‘buy-out' options for selling to a minor;
- Minor-in-possession law to include consumption; and
- “Dram Shop” civil liability law for any adult that sells or provides alcohol to a minor that results in an injury or death.
Prior to PEM, alcohol license compliance checks in Nebraska were rare and very infrequent, if conducted at all. Some of the counties had never conducted any compliance checks. With training support from PEM and coalition assistance, thousands of licensees are faced with compliance check operations. Underage alcohol large party enforcements are much more commonplace and source investigation is emphasized in all jurisdictions.
PEM recently piloted an underage enforcement “Train the Trainer” course to train state law enforcement personnel to conduct training for special underage enforcement procedures and practices. These include compliance checks, party patrols, underage saturation patrols, shoulder tap operations and alcohol source investigation techniques.
The Omaha metro area of PEM was recently selected as one of two national communities to pilot an NHTSA underage enforcement mobilization strategy. This underage initiative is to design a similar underage enforcement/media mobilization to the “Click It or Ticket” and “Drunk Driving Over the Limit, Under Arrest” national NHTSA mobilizations.
The PEM Community Coalition organization has been recognized with awards from the National Commission on Drunk Driving, NHTSA, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Public Health Association of Nebraska, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and the National Safety Council – Greater Omaha Chapter.