If you've had a hair-raising experience driving in the dark on a motorway with defective Catseyes (also called reflective road studs), know who to report the problem to.
How do I report broken Catseyes?
Finding out who to report faulty Catseyes (officially called reflective road studs) to depends on the type of road you saw the fault on.
The management of UK roads is shared between local authorities, the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and Highways England.
When reporting an issue with faulty or broken Catseyes to the relevant highways or local authority, you should include as much information as possible.
Try to describe the location with as much accuracy as you can including, for example, landmarks, nearby buildings or an adjacent street lamp identifier number; details of when the defect was noticed; and the nature of the defect.
Why do Catseyes stop working?
Catseyes can become defective or broken for a range of reasons, including failures in the material used to fix them to the road, issues with their self-cleaning mechanism, the rubber housing becoming detached or through being struck and loosened by vehicles.
Reporting a problem on a major road
Trunk roads, which are classed as the most important roads, include most motorways and A roads.
A fault found on a major road should be reported to the relevant authority. If you want to report a fault on a major road, here is the list of authorities responsible for them across the UK:
Highways England in England
For any road safety issues Highways England advises people to call 0300 123 5000, as emails cannot always be dealt with upon receipt.
Calls to 03 numbers cost the national rate call. If you want to get in touch online, you can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Transport Scotland in Scotland
Scottish trunk roads have regular traffic signs indicating who is responsible for maintaining them and provide a contact number to the Transport Scotland customer care line.
If you notice any defects you can contact the Transport Scotland customer care telephone number: 0800 028 1414 for free from a landline. The Transport Scotland website also contains a list of all trunk roads they are responsible for. You can also contact the relevant operating company through their websites.
North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency and South Wales Trunk Road Agent in Wales
The North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency and South Wales Trunk Road Agent operate on behalf of the Welsh Government. Here is a handy map of the road network the Welsh Government looks after. You can email email@example.com (English) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Welsh) to report a fault.
Urgent issues can be reported by telephone on 0300 123 1213.
TransportNI in Northern Ireland
You can report a faulty catseye through the fault reporting system on TransportNI's NIDirect.gov.uk site. File the complaint under pothole and note that it is a road stud in the additional information box.
Transport for London is responsible for major arterial routes in London
In addition to advice above, further contact details can be found on the websites of each authority.
Reporting a problem on a local road
In England, Scotland and Wales, local roads are the responsibility of the local authority to maintain and so the fault should be reported to them, usually via their contact us page.
You can use the GOV.UK website local council locator tool to type in the postcode of the area and find out the relevant local council.
As with any faults on major roads, you should try to include as much detail as possible about the severity and location of the defect(s) you see.
In Scotland, local authorities also have similar informative traffic signs on their main routes to those on trunk roads, and also have further information about their services on their websites.
Northern Ireland exception
In Northern Ireland, TransportNI within the Department for Infrastructure is the sole road authority.
As well as major roads, it is responsible for the management and maintenance of all other roads in the country, including local roads.
TransportNI has a fault reporting system on its NIDirect.gov.uk site where the complaint should be filed under pothole. You can then note that it is a road stud in the additional information box on the website and it would be picked up by TransportNI’s maintenance team.
Road safety first
A recent Which? Consumer Rights survey amongst Which? members revealed that over half of car users noticed reflective road studs not working properly. Out of the car users who noticed catseyes not working properly whilst driving, 74% said it had affected their driving.
When you report a broken or faulty reflective road stud, you should make it clear if you felt unsafe driving so the authority maintaining the road is aware of the potential safety implications to drivers using the road.
How quickly will the problem be fixed?
This will depend on the severity of the fault, the amount of people using the road and the safety implication to the travelling public.
Repair and replacement of reflective road studs is usually targeted towards the trunk road and A class network primarily.
Priority will also usually be given to sites where studs are missing along a section of road where there are sharp deviations in the road, such as at a bend, and to areas with consecutive faults prioritised over individual defects.