White van man

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This article is about the British slang term. For the confidence trick, see White van speaker scam. For the television programme, see White Van Man (TV series).
Reconstruction work on Mansfield Road, Oxford, with assorted white vans
A typical white van

"White van man" is a stereotype used in the United Kingdom for a smaller-sized commercial van driver,[1] perceived as selfish, inconsiderate, mostly petit bourgeois and aggressive.[2] According to this stereotype, the "white van man" is an independent tradesperson, such as a plumber or locksmith, self-employed, or running a small enterprise,[2] for whom driving a commercial vehicle is not the main line of business, as it is for a professional freight-driver.[3]


The first recorded use in the British press was in an article titled "Number is up for White Van Man – scourge of the road." published by The Sunday Times on 18 May 1997 written by Jonathan Leake, that paper's then-transport editor. Later in 1997, it was used by BBC Radio 2's Sarah Kennedy. She was made honorary president of the First Ford Transit Owner's Club in 2005.[4]

The Sun newspaper ran a regular "White Van Man" column for some years[when?] in which the driver of a light goods vehicle was interviewed in his van on the issues of the day. These columns were accompanied by a picture of whichever driver had been interviewed leaning out of his cab.[citation needed]

The term was used in 2010 as part of road safety campaigns by the Freight Transport Association.[5]

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