What is the true effectiveness of seatbelts? For many years, we have heard government agencies and automakers tout the number of lives saved by seatbelts. But we have also heard about defective seatbelts and airbags that fail to protect drivers and their passengers. Laws in most states require the use of seatbelts, child seats, and more. Several types of vehicle safety equipment are now required in every car or truck that comes off an assembly line. Are they effective?