Lyft News

Lyft adds members to Safety Advisory Council

Jul 1, 2024

We want Lyft to be the safest way to get around, and our teams are working hard to create a rideshare experience that feels even safer and more secure for everyone. We also recognize that we can’t do this alone - it takes a community of riders, drivers and safety experts that puts people first, because we’re all in this together. 

As we continue to invest in safety products, it’s also important to continue investing in safety partnerships. Lyft’s Safety Advisory Council was created in 2020, and has grown to 13 partner organizations that provide us with expert advice on safety initiatives, features, processes, and educational tutorials. We rely on these partners for their perspectives, suggestions, and feedback to make the Lyft platform even safer. Recently, we worked with multiple members of our Safety Advisory Council to develop our Women+ Connect feature, which matches women and non-binary riders and drivers more often. Through close partnership with a diverse set of safety professionals, Lyft is better equipped to build safety features and processes that consider all community members, and anticipate and prevent unintended consequences.

Today, Lyft welcomes three new members to our Safety Advisory Council: Jonathan Adkins, Chief Executive Officer of the Governors Highway Safety Association; Jacob Smith, Executive Director of the National Organization for Youth Safety; and Mirella Beltram, Associate Director, Polaris. These new council members are experts in road safety, youth safety and equity, and human trafficking, respectively. 

“Lyft’s Safety Advisory Council are experts across the spectrum of inclusivity, advocacy, safety, law enforcement, and more. We work with them every step of the way to inform our safety features and policies,” said Ameena Gill, Vice President Safety and Customer Care at Lyft. “Most recently, we worked closely with several of our members to get their feedback on our Women+ Connect product that matches more women and non-binary riders and drivers. We are proud to welcome new members to the Safety Advisory Council who bring decades of experience that will influence our work to make Lyft even safer.”

Lyft’s Safety Advisory Council

New additions to the Safety Advisory Council:

Jonathan Adkins, CEO of Governors Highway Safety Association. Jonathan Adkins has 25 years of leadership and advocacy in roadway safety. He is CEO of the Governors Highway Association (GHSA), a national nonprofit that represents state highway safety agencies. Jonathan is responsible for directing GHSA's Washington headquarters office, serving as the association’s chief liaison with federal agencies, and representing the organization on Capitol Hill and with private-sector partners. Jonathan uses his vast experience in roadway safety to benefit partners dedicated to reaching the goal of zero traffic deaths. Jonathan also serves as Chair of the National Alliance to Stop Impaired Driving, a coalition established by dedicated to ending impaired driving in all its forms.

"Lyft is a long-time and valued partner of GHSA in the quest for safer streets," said GHSA CEO Jonathan Adkins. "Lyft and GHSA continue to support state initiatives that encourage drivers to make the responsible choice to hail a ride instead of getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or drugs. Providing a convenient, safer alternative to impaired driving helps protect everyone on the road. I'm pleased to join Lyft's Safety Advisory Council and look forward to bringing a roadway safety perspective to this important effort."

Jacob Smith, Executive Director of National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS). Jacob Smith is a leader in the transportation equity movement, with a particular interest in uplifting the voices and experiences of marginalized youth (15-29). He has spent nearly a decade catalyzing youth-led racial and health equity initiatives in communities across the country. Jacob was instrumental in the development of the inaugural National Youth Transportation Equity Convening, a national gathering dedicated to centering youth-led solutions for creating a safe, sustainable and equitable transportation system. He is also the North American Representative for the Global Youth Coalition for Road Safety, and a co-lead for the Transportation Equity Caucus. 

"I am pleased to join Lyft’s Safety Advisory Council. With a focus on supporting marginalized youth and transportation equity, NOYS shares Lyft’s commitment to making transportation safer for everyone," Jacob Smith, Executive Director of NOYS.  

Mirella Beltram, Associate Director, Partnerships at Polaris. Since 2015, Mirella Beltram has been supporting the global work of Polaris and the Polaris operated U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline. As Associate Director of Partnerships, Mirella works with corporate partners to strengthen their anti-trafficking response through training and technical assistance, as well as strengthening the international case response of the Trafficking Hotline through the outreach and maintenance of relationships with international partners, including anti-trafficking service providers, government, and law enforcement agencies.  Mirella also manages and maintains the Polaris operated Global Modern Slavery Directory (GMSD), a publicly accessible database of over 2,600 organizations from around the world that work on the issue of human trafficking, exploitation, and forced labor.

“Since 2019, Polaris and Lyft have been united in their mission to combat human trafficking, with Lyft providing ride credits periodically to the Trafficking Hotline, aiding victims and survivors to get to where they need to go safely. Our collaborative efforts are especially crucial during peak times and large-scale events, when there is more attention on potential trafficking situations." said Mirella Beltram, Polaris. “In 2024, Polaris proudly joined Lyft’s Safety Advisory Council, further solidifying our partnership and commitment to safeguarding vulnerable individuals.”

Additional Members of the Safety Advisory Council include: 

  • Eric Bloem, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship and Inclusive Technology, Human Rights Campaign

  • Ann Burdges, CEO, End Violence Against Women International (EVAWI)

  • Melanie Campbell, President and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

  • Kym Craven, Executive Director of National Women's Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE)

  • Dwayne Crawford, Executive Director of National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)

  • Leah Page, Senior Vice President, ADT

  • Keeli Sorensen, Leader in Human Rights Policy and Programs

  • Tracey Vitchers, Executive Director, It’s On Us

  • Sheriff (ret) John Whetsel, Past Chair, National Sheriffs’ Association Traffic Safety Committee

  • Sheriff Kathy Witt, Fayette County, Kentucky