Lyft News

Lyft Launches a Safety Advisory Council

Dana Davis - Jan 14, 2020
Poster - safety-advisory-council

There is nothing more important to Lyft than the safety of our riders and drivers. Since day one, we’ve worked continuously to improve the safety of our platform and the ridesharing industry by developing innovative products, policies and processes. Last year alone, one out of every five Lyft employees was dedicated to working on projects related to the safety of the platform. As a result of those efforts, we launched more than 15 new safety features to our riders and drivers just last year. 

We know that safety is not a destination. When it comes to the safety of our riders and drivers, both on the road and in the car, our work will never be done. We recognize that there are always improvements and adaptations to be made, especially as our community continues to grow and ridesharing becomes even more integrated in people’s day-to-day lives. That’s why, in 2020, we are doubling down on our investment in safety and dedicating even more time, resources and employees to our work on safety.  

Today, we are excited to announce our newest safety initiative: the formation of a dedicated Safety Advisory Council, made up of expert partner organizations. Partnering with our Community Safety Program steering committee -- under the leadership of General Counsel Kristin Sverchek and Chief Policy Officer Anthony Foxx -- this Council will advise Lyft on current and planned safety initiatives, with members lending their expert perspectives, suggestions and critiques. 

As we seek to tackle complex safety issues, the Council will provide Lyft with a critical perspective on the work we are doing to enhance the safety of our platform. Through close partnership with a diverse set of experts, Lyft will be better equipped to build safety features and processes that consider all community members, and anticipate and prevent unintended consequences. 

The Council will include representatives from RAINN, It’s On Us, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives and National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. In addition to membership on the Council, Lyft has partnered with all of these organizations on dedicated safety projects.   

The Council will be led by Lyft’s VP of Safety and Customer Engagement, Eman Barhoumeh. “As the Lyft platform grows, we are seeing issues that are endemic in our society manifest on our platform and have an opportunity to address them. Issues that are so nuanced, complex and widespread in our society require sophisticated solutions that go beyond standard product design,” said Barhoumeh. “To identify these solutions, and ensure they are implemented thoughtfully, we must consider the perspectives of a diverse set of subject matter experts. I so appreciate all our Safety Advisory Council members who have generously offered their time and commitment to this important shared endeavor.”

More about Lyft’s Safety Advisory Council Members

Keeli Sorensen, Vice President of Victim Services at RAINN. Ms. Sorensen has more than 15 years of experience leading programmatic and policy efforts assisting vulnerable populations. At RAINN, she provides strategic and operational leadership to the National Sexual Assault Hotline, the Department of Defense’s Safe Helpline, and public and private sector clients, including Lyft. Through partnership with RAINN, Lyft has developed a mandatory safety education program for drivers, designed to provide them with the skills to help create a safe environment. 

Tracey Vitchers, Executive Director, and Silvia Zenteno, Director of Education and Training, at It’s On Us. It’s On Us was founded in the Obama administration as a sexual assault prevention initiative aimed at college campuses. Ms. Vitchers was selected to lead It’s On Us as a nonprofit organization following its departure from the White House. Vitchers is a nationally recognized expert on youth sexual violence, with unique experience developing technology to combat sexual assault. Ms. Zenteno is a survivor activist and an expert in national campus sexual assault programs. Her work is rooted in improving access to sexual assault response and prevention services for students to ensure they are relevant and effective. It’s On Us is Lyft’s newest partner on safety, launching a new initiative this year to amplify safety education around ridesharing on college campuses.

Sheriff John Whetsel, Chair of the National Sheriffs’ Association’s Traffic Safety Committee. Sheriff Whetsel has over 50 years of experience in law enforcement and a passion for road safety. Sheriff Whetsel served as the Sheriff of Oklahoma County for 21 years and is the former President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Lyft works closely with Sheriff Whetsel as part of our ongoing partnership with the National Sheriffs Association. Lyft and NSA have worked together on programs for roadway safety, safe elder mobility, anti-human trafficking efforts, and supporting victims of domestic violence. As part of that work, the NSA is currently managing five local county grants, which provide rideshare transportation to victims of domestic violence and crime victim services.

Sheriff Kathy Witt, Sheriff of Fayette County, Kentucky. Under Sheriff Witt’s leadership, Fayette County provides a variety of services to strengthen its public safety response including a Domestic Violence and Victim Services Division. As part of this work, Fayette County is a current recipient of Lyft’s NSA partnership grant, which provides transportation for crime victim services and domestic violence victims.

Kym Craven, Executive Director at the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE). Ms. Craven has over 30 years of experience in law enforcement, with a focus on public safety and community engagement initiatives. Throughout her career, she has advised over 350 municipalities and state agencies. Lyft and NAWLEE have partnered on a number of initiatives, working together to address roadway safety, gender issues, transportation equity, human trafficking and domestic violence.

Dwayne A. Crawford, Executive Director at National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). Mr. Crawford’s experience lies in executive law enforcement policies and administration. As NOBLE’s Executive Director, he is responsible for overseeing NOBLE’s external and internal activities. Lyft and NOBLE have focused on a number of efforts, including transportation equity, Lyft background check policies, and driver/passenger safety.