The company responded to a recent article in The Independent reporting on a 6% increase in light van traffic. In it, David Marsh – a social psychologist who conducted the first research into the concept of White Van Man for the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford – said: 'Van drivers have taken on the mantle of what sociologists refer to as folk devils.
White Van Man has overtaken even the football hooligan in the league of social undesirability. He is now most often viewed as a mobile thug and a dangerous threat to the decent, right-thinking majority.'
Mark Keavney from Norwich Union, one of the UK's largest insurers of vans, commented: 'As a major insurer, we have access to substantial claims data regarding van and car drivers and there is no suggestion that van drivers are any more of a risk on the roads.
'While the White Van Man title creates a stereotypical association with bad driving, research shows that they actually make fewer claims against their insurance policies than car motorists. Their reputation for cavalier driving has just made the general public more likely to notice a bad van driver than a bad motorist.'