ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Morgan Bass was one of five nursing students from Georgia Southern that were tragically killed back in April 2015.
They are now the motivation for Governor Deal signing into law the Hands-Free Georgia Act.
Even though it has been over three years since Morgan Bass's passing, friends still remember her signature smile and her desire to help others.
Morgan Bass, a graduate of Lee County High School, and four other nursing students lost their lives when a driver of a tractor tailor struck their vehicle.
It was later determined that the truck driver was sending texts and inappropriate pictures to his girlfriend instead of paying attention to the road.
Her friends haven't forgotten the impact she has made on their lives.
It is still hard especially when Morgan has missed all her friends getting married.
Sidney Deese Leing remembers her wedding day and wishes Morgan could have attended.
"All of us, three of us have gotten married, so it was just, you know, she had such a big bold personality that she would have just made the night even better. So its hard to take a step back and remember, you know, that she is there in spirit but it would have been so much better to have her there in person than not."
For Morgan's friends, it's the memories they shared in high school like prom and homecoming that will live on Morgan's legacy.
Even for the big moments like weddings, her friends still each found a way to remember her at there weddings.
Sidney even made Morgan one of her bridesmaids.
Now Sidney understands the importance of not using her phone behind the wheel but she understands how hard it is to put it down.
"If it's a phone call from someone special, you know you are going to answer it. And I understand that, you know, that it is something we use every day and it's harder now that she is gone to kind of understand you know that it's not that important. To kinda keep it down and keep it down."
It might seem like a temporary inconvenience, but that simple text message won't ever get Morgan back.
Governor Deal hopes that this new law will limit distracted drivers on the road and save more lives.
House Bill 673, also known as the Hands-Free Georgia Act, was signed into law Wednesday, May 2 in Statesboro.
HB 673 makes it much easier for law enforcement to cite drivers in Georgia for distracted driving. The bill specifically lays out what drivers in Georgia cannot do while behind the wheel.
Drivers will no longer be able to:
- hold or support a wireless telecommunications device or stand-alone electronic device
- write, send, or read any text-based communication, including a text message, instant message, e-mail or internet data while holding your device
- watching a video or movie other than watching data related to the navigation of your vehicle
- record or broadcast a video
The bill does allow the use of Bluetooth and hands-free cell phone usage.
The new law will go into effect July 1. Your first violation will result in a $50 fine, $100 for a second violation, and a $150 fine for a third and any subsequent violations.
You can read a copy of the bill here.