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DALLAS - A Dallas safety program is helping keep dangerous drivers off the roads, but Wednesday, a grieving mother urged drivers to pay attention at red lights.

Exactly two years ago, Renee Varela's 18-year-old son was killed by an underage drunk driver who ran a red light while driving 80 miles per hour. The underage driver hit the car Anthony Varela was in. The driver was left brain dead.

He wanted to join the Marines, and now all of that's gone, Renee Varela said.

She now talks to area teens about the dangers of running red lights.

Wednesday, Dallas Police Chief David Brown gave her an award for her dedication.

Dallas Police Chief Brown and Dallas Fire Chief Louie Bright say the city's SafeLight Dallas Stops on Red program is cutting down on accidents where drivers run red lights. Since the program began six years ago, there have been 55 percent fewer red light running accidents at intersections with cameras.

Renee Varela said there are still too many wrecks.

This has changed my life drastically, Varela said. It's a struggle to get through life every day without my son.

Anthony Varela's organs were donated. They saved three lives on the night of the wreck, and have helped 111 others since.

Dallas Police Senior Corporal Patty Carter was also at Wednesday's event. Her son died in a red-light-running accident two months ago.

E-mail scovitz@wfaa.com

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