CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s National Teen Driver Safety Week, and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says a parent must log fifty hours — including ten at night — with an aspiring driver.

“We just believe when you have parental involvement, we are going to get a better bang for the buck, so to speak,” White said. “And we also encourage parents to speak with their young people about the importance of safe driving. And also remind them, too, they cannot be distracted.”

White says the impetus for toughening the driver’s license requirements came from a series of 15 young people dying in 15 months in Tazewell County, near Peoria, a decade ago.

“I just thank the people who took part in our graduated drivers task force, who came with their thoughts and ideas as to how we can best keep our roads safe, and it has paid off.”

In fact, driving teen fatalities are down 51 percent. This number counts teenagers who are drivers or passengers who die in a crash in which a teen is driving. Still, however, traffic crashes remain the leading cause of death for people age 15 to 20, according to the Illinois Secretary of State.

“My top goal as your Secretary of State is to save lives by reducing fatal traffic crashes. When I established the Teen Driver Safety Task Force, the goal was to improve Illinois’ graduated driver licensing law and, even more importantly, to save lives,” White said.

White adds that teen driving deaths have dropped by nearly 60 percent since the law took effect Jan. 1, 2008.