It's not as bad as you fear. It's really WONDERFUL to give them the keys and not be in the passenger seat worrying about everything along the route. It's easier than being there all the time. (sounds awful, in its own way, but it's very true)
I have 27, 25, 15 and 13 yr olds. The eldest thought if you could drive fast you were a good driver. (panic city for mom) She learned when she lost her license and Mom wouldn't let her drive again until the state had actually collected it (3 months later), and she took a defensive driving class to take points off her license. She got punished by the state and also by her parents, and her parents were a whole lot worse !
the 2nd one was much more conscientious. When I explained that the mark of a good driver was to have the person in the passenger seat feel relaxed, she made that her goal. (phew)
With each child, I felt it was important to give them a chance to take the car out on their own on THE DAY she got her license. Even just to drive around the block. Or to go to the grocery store to pick something up for me. Give your daughter the chance to drive all alone; its a rite of passage. It doesn't have to be far, it just has to happen.
then look at the good stuff: She can run errands for you. She can drive herself to the dance or back and forth from jobs, and you won't have to run back and forth, which will save you time and gas money.
I have never bought my child a car or a cell phone. So, for the child to "get the car", they have to need it, and they have to fit into the needs of the rest of the family. We are a team. Ever since I have had a cell phone, however, I have handed it to my daughter when she got the car. It's important to have the ability to call home.
Initially, I think it's good for mom to have her call when she arrives, and then call again, when she leaves to head home. That way you know when she's on the road, and when you can relax. But you need to set a time limit on that, too. Don't become a burden to your child. Afer a month, or after a certain number of "trips", you should assume she will arrive (if it's not a major trip somewhere), but because it might be nighttime when she leaves to come home, you might still want to know when she's getting on the road and what route she plans to take home. That becomes especially important when she goes to a school function or something and it's snowing on the way home. If it's snowing before she leaves, and you don't trust the roads, don't give her the keys. Or, let her drive with you next to her, so she gets extra snow-coaching. Hand out as much autonomy as you can, within limits, and take pride in her achievements. Also take obvious pride in her responsibility when she checks in with you. You aren't, I hope, asking her to do things you wouldn't do with your spouse. For instance, when my husband or I go on a trip without the other, we call home when we arrive. We often also call when we leave, so the partner knows approximately when to expect them home. It's just part of loving each other and being family. :-)
I did not allow passengers in the car when my daughters first got their licenses. I learned that from a friend, who allowed her kids to drive family around, but not friends. She and her hub had a small business and didn't want to get sued if something happened, but I thought it was good advice. Most accidents are caused because the driver becomes distracted, and friends who are laughing and talking together are a definite distraction. When they started driving the little siblings, I made sure the siblings took some behavioral responsibility and told them that THEY WERE NOT TO DISTRACT THE DRIVER. Talking was okay, fighting was OUT. If there was a problem with siblings, I told the driver to pull over and solve it. If they sat at the side of the road a while, at least that was safer than trying to solve it at the wheel. When it was time to add friends to the mix, my teens generally came and asked if they could drive someone somewhere with them. They would usually tell me who it was, and would let me know that the person was responsible, and why. They actually made good decisions, and I don't think they ever were the carpool driver type until college. And at that point, if they had our car at college, I would let them know that I was not insuring any other drivers. No one but OUR CHILDREN were allowed to drive OUR car. It helped that we gave them standard transmissions to drive, cuz none of their friends could handle a clutch ! :-)
When they start driving on their own, be sure you understand their complaints. Driver #2, our more careful driver, used to drive home in the snow and tell me the car did things I didn't think the car could do. Like frontwheel drive "fishtailing". I told her it can't happen. She said it did. I told her she was driving too fast. She said she wasn't. She thought something was wrong with the car. . . . We went through 3 years of this until she was driving home in snow that was falling after turning over from rain. She got cut off by a driver, then the driver stopped right in front of her to make a left hand turn. She slowed, but the car didn't stop until it hit his car. ugh. She came home devastated and crying her eyes out -- in fact, she was such a wreck that the other driver called US to be sure she got home safely. We talked thru the accident, and how she could have avoided it, but she had fully expected the car to stop. I said, "You were driving too fast." She said she was going really slowly. finally, it all clicked. 3 years of the same discussion and finally I caught on and said, "What I mean is, that if you do not have total control over the car, you are going too fast for the ROAD CONDITIONS." Prior to that, she had considered too fast to relate to the speed limit, and I had been talking about controlling the car. Communication is key, and i could have saved both of us a number of fruitless conversations if I had listened better and explained myself better.
This is a big time in your daugher's life. Take GREAT PRIDE in her achievements, and enjoy them. My two adults are two of the greatest prides in my life. No career achievement has ever compared to the joy I get at seeing them launch their lives and succeed ! This is one of those "big times" in life that allow you to show your pride, continue to require responsibility, but also move that responsibility from that of a child to that of a responsible adult, who realizes her life is intertwined with those of her family, bound by love, and wants to show that same love to her parents as they have shown to her.
Good luck ! Make it a victory ground rather than a battle ground !!