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 in Holywell Street, 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 working class 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 term white van man has been used as part of road safety campaigns by the Freight Transport Association.[4]


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 May 18, 1997 written by Jonathan Leake, that paper's then-transport editor. The Sun newspaper ran a regular "White Van Man" column for some years 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. Later in 1997, it was used by BBC Radio 2's Sarah Kennedy. In 2005, Sarah Kennedy was made honorary president of the First Ford Transit Owner's Club.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ WARREN HOGEPublished: July 14, 2000 (2000-07-14). "Leatherhead Journal; The White Van Man of England: Oh, He's a Devil! – New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  2. ^ a b Leo Benedictus (2006-07-07). "The question: Can we ever love White Van Man? | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  3. ^ Shaw, Esther (25 April 2013). "Watch out for White Van Man!". Moneysupermarket.com. Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  4. ^ "Freight Transport Association Warns White Van Man Of Overloading Freight Dangers – Latest industry shipping news from". the Handy Shipping Guide. 2010-06-24. Retrieved 2013-08-05. 
  5. ^ carpages.co.uk – Ford Transit Owners Club

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