The owner may escape liability by proving that the operator told him that he had a valid driver’s license, and the owner had no knowledge that the operator was being untruthful.

Under Ohio’s negligent entrustment statute, codified at Revised Code Section 4511.203, the owner of a motor vehicle may face both criminal penalties and civil liability when he or she entrusts a vehicle to another when the owner knows or reasonably should know:

(a) The operator does not have a valid driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle;

(b) The operator has had his driver’s license suspended or revoked;

(c) The operator’s driving of the vehicle would violate Ohio’s Financial Responsibility laws;

(d) The operator is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs;

(e) The vehicle is the subject of an immobilization waiver order, and permitting the operator to drive the vehicle would violate the order.

The owner may escape liability by proving that the operator told him that he had a valid driver’s license, and the owner had no knowledge that the operator was being untruthful.