Lyft Joins Forces with #WhatsMyName Foundation to Promote Rideshare Safety

In the coming months, restrictions due to COVID-19 will continue to ease and many college students will return to school. When that happens, Lyft stands ready to work with colleges and universities to increase awareness about rideshare safety on campus. 

We’re joining forces with Seymour and Marci Josephson’s #WhatsMyName Foundation to promote rideshare safety best practices and empower college students across the country with the information they need to ride responsibly. The #WhatsMyNameFoundation was established in honor of Samantha Josephson, Seymour and Marci’s daughter who was kidnapped and murdered during her senior year at the University of South Carolina by a man posing as an Uber driver. The Foundation’s goal is to educate college students about rideshare safety best practices so that no other family will have to suffer this kind of tragedy.    

Lyft’s partnership with the #WhatsMyName Foundation will kick off with public awareness campaigns on the campuses of a number of our more than 100 college and university partners, with whom we work closely to create tailored transportation programs that prioritize safety for students, faculty and staff. Initial plans include safety education activations promoting rideshare safety tips at popular pick-up locations, as well as in-person education sessions for both students and campus officials. Program details will be dependent upon reopening plans at each campus, but will be aimed at educating students about rideshare best practices, including planning ahead and reviewing in-app safety features before the ride; asking the driver “what’s my name” to confirm it is the correct ride; matching the make, model and license plate of the car with the one displayed in the app; and sharing trip details with friends or family. 

"No family should ever have to experience the heartbreak we endured when we learned what happened to our daughter that fateful night," said Seymour Josephson, founder of the #WhatsMyName Foundation. "It is uplifting to know that the #WhatsMyName Foundation and Lyft share the goal of keeping young people safe, and through this initiative we will leverage our joint expertise to promote best practices for using rideshare both on and off campus.” 

“We’re proud to partner with Seymour and Marci Josephson, the #WhatsMyName Foundation and our entire community of partners to amplify ridesharing safety education on college campuses nationwide,” said Lyft’s Director of Public Policy for Community Safety Jennifer Brandenburger. “We’ve already adopted several measures to make sure riders are getting in their correct vehicles with verified drivers to prevent incidents like this from happening, including sending push notifications to remind riders to verify their ride and increasing the visibility of the vehicle’s make, model and license plate in the Lyft app. While the tragedy involving Sami Josephson didn’t happen on the Lyft platform, we’re committed to enhancing safety across the entire rideshare industry.” 

This announcement comes on the heels of Lyft’s partnership with It’s On Us, an organization founded by White House officials during the Obama administration as a sexual assault prevention initiative aimed at college campuses, to amplify safety education around ridesharing. Tracey Vitchers, Executive Director at It’s On Us, and Silvia Zenteno, Director of Education and Training at It’s on Us, also serve on Lyft’s Safety Advisory Council.

“Ridesharing has become an integral part of life for young adults, especially on college campuses. It is common for students to request a ride after a night out, for themselves or for a friend, to safely and easily get home,” said Tracey Vitchers, Executive Director at It’s On Us. “As the nation's leading organization focused on college sexual assault prevention, It's On Us is proud to partner with Lyft on such important initiatives for our shared community.” 

The best and most effective way for riders to ensure they’re getting in the right car is to match the license plate shown in the Lyft app with the license plate of the arriving vehicle -- before stepping foot into the car. We are committed to ensuring riders have the information they need to get into the correct vehicle, which is why we send push notifications to remind riders to verify their ride’s license plate, and feature photos of the Lyft driver, license plate number, and the make, model and color of the car in the Lyft app. Last year, we increased the size and visibility of drivers’ license plate numbers in the app, and continue to push for legislation requiring front and back license plates on the state and national level.